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New Waterfront home development

Williamsburg York County Virginia Real Estate


A Newport News development company plans to build 47 homes in a gated community on 1,000 acres along the Gloucester side of the York River, with home prices averaging around $1 million.

The property juts into the river and is bordered by Timberneck and Cedar Bush creeks. Formerly owned by the Catlett family, it features a two-story farmhouse built in 1805 that the developers intend to renovate and move elsewhere on the property before giving it to the Gloucester County Historical Society.

Timberneck LLC paid $11 million for 1,034 acres last August, Gloucester County property records show. The land and buildings have an assessed value of $4.2 million.

Ben Williams, president of the development firm, told the Gloucester County Planning Commission Thursday night that the project is a “preservation development.” The firm intends to seek a rezoning on 650 acres of the property to allow it to build a planned-unit development.

No formal application has been filed yet. Thursday night’s presentation was a pre-application presentation.

Large swaths of the property’s interior will continue to be farmed in winter wheat, corn and soybeans using a no-till method, Williams said. Homes will encircle the property that will continue to be farmed, with other sections planted in pine forest.

The company plans to give the Catlett Islands, which are the farthest points into the river, to the Virginia Institute of Marine Science for preservation and study, and to ensure they won’t be developed, he said.

Preliminary drawings show 47 lots on the property, many of them waterfront. Williams said lots would go from $400,000 to up to $1.5 million for a 14-acre parcel where Timberneck Hall sits near the confluence of Timberneck Creek and the York River.

Home prices would range from $800,000 to $1.2 million, Williams said. Sizes would range up to 5,500 square feet.

Members of the commission questioned Williams extensively about Timberneck Hall, the 19th-century farmhouse that will be moved and renovated. Williams said it will be cheaper to move the home than leave it where it is and remodel it.

Commission member Hal McVey said he is disturbed that developers plan to move the house.

“I don’t see how for the life of me it can be less expensive to move it across the whole piece of property than leave it where it is now,” he said.

Williams said it is a valid concern and something the developers haven’t taken lightly. He said it will cost $500,000 to move the building and restore it to a condition that will preserve it. It’s far cheaper than trying to remodel it to make it inhabitable, he said.

“I’m not sure there’s anybody who’d want to live in it,” Williams said. “It’s not a plantation house. It’s not a Warner Hall.”

Commission member Keith Belvin, who lives across Timberneck Creek from the property, said he is excited about the project “as far as setting a precedent for preservation development.”

The Thursday night meeting was continued to June 28, when members of the commission will meet at the property at 9:30 a.m. for a tour by Williams and other members of the development team. The tour is open to the public because it’s a public meeting.