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Mullins battlefield deal is official
Deal to preserve portion of historic Spotsylvania farm is official


Date published: 12/11/2004

By GEORGE WHITEHURST

The shadow of urban sprawl has now been lifted from more than 100 acres of Civil War battlefield land in Spotsylvania County.

Tricord Inc. formally purchased 227 acres of land on State Route 3 from local businessman John Mullins for $12.5 million yesterday.

The Spotsylvania-based company in turn sold nearly 140 acres of the property to the Civil War Preservation Trust. The trust plans to create a 1,000-foot conservation buffer between Route 3 and the age-restricted subdivision Tricord plans to build on the remaining 87 acres.

Tricord co-owner Mike Jones said yesterday the land deal will benefit everyone involved.

"This represents the result of a lot of hard work and effort on a lot of people's part," he said. "We just appreciate all the people involved who went the extra mile to make it happen."

The county Board of Supervisors did its part last month by rezoning 87 acres to allow the subdivision. The appeal period for that action ended Thursday.

The 87 acres will become the 300-home Retreat at Chancellorsville. The company also plans an assisted-living facility and a church on adjacent property.

Jones said engineering work on the neighborhood will begin immediately, but predicted that actual home construction won't begin until 2006.

The project faced little opposition, particularly since the supervisors voted to have the county serve as co-applicant of the rezoning request.

In return for the rezoning, Tricord charged the preservation trust only $3 million for the remaining 140 acres--land that could have fetched a far higher price on the open market. Fierce fighting occurred there on the first day of the Battle of Chancellorsville.

"We feel like the battlefields are some of the greatest assets we have," Jones said. "It was the right thing to do for the preservation of history. It was the right thing to do for the long term of Spotsylvania County. So any sacrifice was worth it."

Supervisors Chairman Bob Hagan--who played a key role in orchestrating the land deal--expressed satisfaction with the outcome.

"All the parties worked out their concerns in advance, and so this was one opportunity where everyone could agree on a solution," he said. "We hope there will be more, but at least we've had one."


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