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Celebrate springs a surprise
Stafford County asked to approve zoning change to let Celebrate Virginia North include more than 1,400 retirement homes.

Date published: 12/17/2002

The Silver Cos. wants to put a retirement community in its Celebrate Virginia North project in Stafford County.

The prominent Fredericksburg-area developer is asking Stafford supervisors to approve a zoning change that would allow approximately 1,410 homes in its nearly 1,400-acre project off U.S. 17 in southern Stafford.

Instead of seeking a rezoning, the developer is asking the county to change a zoning rule to allow housing in Celebrate Virginia North restricted to those 55 years old and older.

The supervisors will discuss the request today and probably will refer it to the Stafford Planning Commission. The board meets at 1 p.m. at the Stafford Administration Center.

Celebrate Virginia North is the Stafford portion of the Celebrate Virginia project the Silver Cos. plans for the banks of the Rappahannock River in the county and in Fredericksburg.

The city portion of the project is slated to include hotels, restaurants, shops, a National Slavery Museum and other attractions adjacent to the company's Central Park retail center.

In Stafford, the Silver Cos. had planned three 18-hole golf courses and a 775-acre office campus.

But if county supervisors approve the company's request, 310 acres that would have been office space would be used for a retirement community for active seniors, Richard Tremblay, vice president of planning and development for the Silver Cos.' residential division, said yesterday.

The neighborhood likely would consist of a variety of housing types--including single-family homes and condominiums--and a central clubhouse, Tremblay said. The median home price would be about $250,000.

Tremblay said Del Webb Corp. and other retirement-community developers approached the Silver Cos. about three months ago, asking if it had any property for sale.

The Silver Cos. wasn't planning any homes for Celebrate Virginia North, but the land was attractive to the retirement-community developers because of the golf courses being built.

So Silver executives did some figuring, and Tremblay said, "The numbers actually looked stronger than offices."

And even if a retirement-community is built, about 3 million square feet of office space would remain, he noted.

Many communities around the country actually look at retirement communities as economic development, Tremblay said.

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