HENRICO, Va. (WRIC) — Henrico County has approved plans for a 90-acre development near I-95 that will combine 780 homes with an integrated office park aimed at high-tech research.

The development, submitted to the county as Sauer’s Property at Virginia Center Commons, is currently an empty patch of woods tucked in among the offices and industry near I-95, close to the border with Hanover County.

Under the new plans just approved by the board of supervisors, three parcels totaling 93 acres will be turned into a mixture of research and development offices, lots for sale and mixed-use, high-density housing.

Conceptual plan of the Virginia Center Commons development. (Courtesy of Henrico County)

The office spaces, corralled in the Northern end of the development, total a little over 30 acres, with the for-sale plots at the South end and the mixed-use residential in a detached parcel to the West.

The for-sale section will not include the single-family detached style that has dominated Henrico’s development history, but will be either townhomes, condominiums or a combination of the two, for a total of 450 units.

The apartment complex to the West, on the other hand, will total up to 330 units, potentially including commercial space on the ground floor.

There was only one speaker during the public comment period on March 14. Michelle Brown, a resident of a nearby neighborhood, asked, “Based on the apartment complexes that are going to be built, will it be Section 8?”

Section 8 is a category of publicly-subsidized housing for low-income renters, which uses housing vouchers to offset the cost of apartments. It was not clear whether she supported or opposed the inclusion of Section 8 in the project.

The developer told the county that all of the units would be “market-rate” — meaning no guarantee of affordability.

The Richmond region is in the midst of a housing affordability crisis, and Henrico faces an enormous shortage of affordable units, especially for those making less than 50% of the area median income.

According to the developer, they intend to “partner with the Henrico Economic Development Authority to recruit R&D or similar lower impact, quality job-producing companies” to occupy the proposed 258,000 square feet of office space.