This July, Richmond, Virginia CBUSA Member Builder Cornerstone Homes held a “barn raising” event to kick off construction on what may be one of the most unique retirement communities in the country. Once complete, Chickahominy Falls in Hanover County, Virginia, will be a 400-home agri-community for adults 55 and older centered around an actual working farm that will grow fruits and vegetables such as kale, squash and mushrooms. A 2,500-square-foot community building dubbed “The Barn at Woodside Farms” — which will house a restaurant-quality demonstration kitchen and rooms for entertaining on grounds that also feature a pond, fitness center, swimming pool, and bocce ball courts — will be the development’s other focal point. Cornerstone will partner with another local builder, Stylecraft, to create the community, which will consist of eight unique neighborhoods or “villages” that will be enclaved to preserve their unique cultures. Five residence options will be available ranging in size from townhomes to single-level houses with private entries, courtyards and two-car garages.
According to an article in the Richmond Times-Dispatch, Cornerstone Homes Principle Roger A. Glover III became intrigued with the agri-community concept after noticing a growing nationwide interest in locally sourced food and desire to reconnect with nature. Inspired, he decided to research other communities that brought farmland and residential living together to help him firm up his vision.
“The difficulty [of building an agri-community] is there’s not one single platform out there that says, ‘Here’s how you do it,’” Glover told the Times-Dispatch. “My intent was to have the farm be an integral part of this residential community but also a farm that will stand on its own.”
According to Cornerstone Homes’ Director of Marketing Kirsten Nease, about five years ago, Glover approached a gentleman who was living and farming on the 180-acre property where Chickahominy Falls will be built. The man agreed to sell 10 acres of the property for the development, and he and eight other families involved with the property provided Glover with invaluable insight and advice.
“Hannover County’s roots are rural and agricultural,” Nease explained. “It was historically known as a Native American hunting ground, and the Marquis de Lafayette had his headquarters situated on the property during the Revolutionary War. In fact, he brought an incredible crop of hay with him from France that is still flourishing there today. Then, the Hargrove family took over the land in 1900, and farming communities have flourished around it to this day. Our property backs right up to the Chickahominy River and the falls that give it its name.”
Nease says that Cornerstone’s membership in CBUSA also proved invaluable in the development of Chickahominy Falls.
“As founding members of CBUSA’s Richmond, Virginia, Local Builders group, we participate at the highest possible level. We’ve used the Committed Purchase program to secure excellent pricing on items like lumber, drywall and appliances. And as a small builder — we closed 75 homes in 2017 and expect to close around 100 this year — Roger appreciated the opportunity to have collaborative conversations with other members about their experiences building projects like Chickahominy Falls, our largest to date, which was a big departure for us.”
Construction is set to begin on the community this fall, and as of July 21, contracts for homes had been signed.
“I don’t think the speed of the development is going to depend on how many homes we sell,” Glover told the Times-Dispatch, “but how quickly the builders can actually build [them].”
With such a unique concept, there’s little doubt that Glover’s prediction will become a reality.