For 25 years hippie artists David and Elizabeth Breeden have been sitting on 1,000 acres of prime property just five minutes south of town. But last spring the Breedens put much of Forest Lodge, as their property is known, on the market. Speculation as to who would grab the hefty parcel ran rampant—but lately, a duo has emerged as the likely buyers: local mega-developers Hunter Craig and Coran Capshaw.
Craig, or his building company, Craig Builders, have been involved with, among other projects, Mill Creek South, the Highlands at Mechums River, Western Ridge in Crozet and Norcross Station just off the Downtown Mall. Craig has also worked with Capshaw on projects such as an Ivy neighborhood at the end of Broomley Road.
Elizabeth Breeden would not comment on the rumored buyer and by press time neither Craig nor Capshaw returned calls.
Breeden did, however, express admiration for the design of Mill Creek South and a desire for the buyer to be a locally based developer.
“I always thought that [Mill Creek South] was very nicely done,” says Breeden. “If the person who gets the property is a local developer I feel like they will have a sense of what’s come before and I hope they have imaginative partners who keep things green and pedestrian.”
Jeff Werner of the Piedmont Environmental Council has heard talk of 3,500 planned units on the Breeden property. Add to that what Werner says are 7,600 dwelling units currently in various stages of approval and review in the county’s growth area, and “we will literally outpace the population projections. Why are we getting so many [units] ready to go?”
That’s 11,100 units right there, a stark contrast to what Werner says were 12,000 building permits issued between 1983 and 2004.
But back to Forest Lodge. With the current two-lane road leading to it, the parcel hardly seems ready for thousands of new dwellings.—Nell Boeschenstein