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Vakos eyes Spotsy project

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Another large development is in the works near Spotsylvania County’s Interstate 95 exit in Massaponax.

Spotsylvania-based W.J. Vakos and Co. is proposing 830 apartments and up to 450,000 square feet of retail space at its Southpoint II shopping center off U.S. 1. Currently, only commercial space is allowed on the property.

The area has been a prime target for growth despite traffic concerns. In the last year, the Spotsylvania Board of Supervisors has approved almost 2,000 housing units—more than half of them apartments—near the Cosner’s Corner shopping center, which is less than a mile south of Southpoint II.

Vakos’ proposed 76-acre development, called Southpoint Landing, would have two sections off Southpoint Parkway. The company is asking that the land be rezoned from commercial to residential and mixed use.

One section would have a 280-unit apartment complex next to the Ballantraye subdivision.

The second section, on the the other side of Southpoint Parkway, would include an estimated 550 apartments and up to 450,000 square feet of retail space south of CarMax, according to Vakos. Some of the apartments could be located above retail and office space.

“We want Southpoint Landing to capitalize on its prime location, visibility and soon zoning flexibility to improve this region’s choice for shopping, living and working,” Bill Vakos III, president of W.J. Vakos and Co., said in an email.

Southpoint II—home to Walmart, Lowe’s, American Family Fitness and various restaurants—was approved in 2002, when supervisors rezoned 141 acres at the site from residential to commercial.

But the market for retail space has gone downhill in recent years, as evidenced by vacant storefronts in the area and a decline in taxable values of commercial property. In December, supervisors rezoned a 20-acre parcel at Cosner East from commercial to residential for a 274-unit apartment complex near Spotsylvania Regional Medical Center.

Though Southpoint Landing is being touted as a mixed-use development, the developer doesn’t guarantee retail space in its rezoning application.

But Vakos said that, with the expected growth over the next decade, “properly planned and placed quality commercial tenants will thrive in Southpoint Landing.”

He also noted that Southpoint I and II, which his firm developed, already have more than 1.2 million square feet of commercial space.

Vakos is not offering cash proffers—payments to a locality that help offset the cost of more homes on schools, roads and other infrastructure—for Southpoint Landing. Supervisors last year approved three mixed-use developments, including Vakos’ 1,550-home Courthouse Village, without cash proffers.

Vakos noted that his company has already constructed Southpoint Parkway at a cost of $12 million. “We have already privately provided more public infrastructure than all of the nearby built or proposed developments in Spotsylvania, with the exception” of Lee’s Parke, he said in an email. Among the proffers for Lee’s Parke, which can have up to 2,232 homes, was the construction of Spotsylvania Parkway.

Supervisor Chris Yakabouski, whose Battlefield District includes the Southpoint Landing site, said he didn’t yet know enough about the proposal to offer an opinion.

The project could tie in with transportation upgrades that Spotsylvania is pursuing.

Vakos owns land that is needed for a proposed ramp that would travel from Massaponax’s I–95 exit 126 to Southpoint Parkway.

Asked about the potential for Vakos to offer right of way for the ramp as part of its rezoning application, Yakabouski said: “They’ve always been good to our community, and I think that we have an excellent opportunity to work with them and find a way that we can move traffic.”

Vakos said that “we continue to work with the transportation agencies and Spotsylvania County to make an improved exit 126 our highest priority.”

The Planning Commission and Board of Supervisors must each hold a public hearing on Southpoint Landing. Those hearings have not been scheduled.

The Vakos project isn’t the only development the supervisors will be considering in the coming months.

International Development of Virginia LLC recently announced plans for a mixed-use project just south of Cosner’s Corner that would have 2,000 townhouses, apartments and condos off U.S. 1. The developer has not yet submitted a rezoning application.

Jeff Branscome: 540/374-5402