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Silver acquires farmland
Fredericksburg developer purchases portion of historic Moss Neck Manor

Date published: 11/25/2004

One of the Fredericksburg area's biggest developers has bought part of historic Moss Neck Manor in Caroline County.

Larry Silver, chief executive officer of The Silver Cos., confirmed this week that one of his corporations has purchased 1,209 acres of farmland off U.S. 17 south of New Post. Silver will continue leasing the property to the farmer who has been raising crops there.

"I honestly have no immediate plans for it," Silver said. "I just think it's a nice piece of property in a nice location."

Caroline land records recorded Nov. 19 show that Silver's Moss Neck Manor Plantation Inc. paid $3 million for the land. The seller was a Belgian concern, J&B Real Estate L.L.C.

The antebellum mansion at Moss Neck Manor and another 120 acres are owned by Fredericksburg lawyer Howard H. Stahl, and are for sale for $3.6 million. An additional 168 acres Stahl owns also is for sale. The mansion and all 288 acres were originally on the market for $4.9 million.

During the Civil War, Confederate Lt. Gen. Thomas J. "Stonewall" Jackson used the estate as his winter headquarters from December 1862 through March 1863. Gens. Robert E. Lee and J.E.B. Stewart visited Jackson there at Christmas.

That gathering was depicted in a scene from the Civil War movie "Gods and Generals." The generals' review of the troops, with the Moss Neck mansion in the background, is the subject of one of artist Mort Kunstler's most popular paintings.

Silver said he obtained the farm portion of Moss Neck as part of a tax-free exchange. The program allows a property-holder to avoid paying taxes on a sale if the money is reinvested, according to Internal Revenue Code Section 1031.

Silver sold the Commonwealth Park Suites Hotel in July for $3.7 million, according to Richmond land records.

"I think in the long term it will be a good investment," Silver said of the purchase in Caroline.

The land is close to both New Post, where Tricord Inc. has proposed building 1,548 homes, and Haymount, a 4,000-home project approved 12 years ago for a site a few miles off U.S. 17 on the Rappahannock River that has not yet been built. Both projects have been designed in the style of traditional towns.

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