Sixteen years ago, Vernon McClure considered buying a 723-acre beef cattle farm near the intersection of Huguenot Trail and State Route 522 in Powhatan County and turning it into a residential community.
“I grew up on a dairy farm, and I liked the open ponds and fields” on the Powhatan farm, said McClure, president of Main Street Homes. “It’s a beautiful property.”
He was already developing the nearby Aston community, though, so he passed on the project. Instead, Richmond-based Realty Ventures Group Inc. bought the parcel and developed it as a 144-home community called Tilman’s Farm, after the property’s previous owner, Edward Tilman.
Realty Ventures Group’s other developments include Tarrington in Chesterfield County and Rivergate in Goochland County.
Realty Ventures Group sought to change the landscape of Tilman’s Farm as little as possible. They designed the roads around the property’s groves of mature hardwood trees, for example, and they dedicated 250 acres of rolling pastures, groves and ponds to common areas.
The lots in Tilman’s Farm are large, too, ranging from two to five acres.
Main Street Homes was among several builders active in the development’s first two sections, but the Great Recession slowed down construction.
McClure didn’t lose interest in the development, though. A year ago, he bought the remaining homesites, and he’s preparing to open a new section of homes there.
McClure estimates he will have built 60 percent of the community’s homes by the time construction wraps up.
“The architectural styles in Tilman’s Farm vary from Craftsman and Farmhouse to Traditional and Transitional,” said Lee Wake, a new home consultant with Main Street Homes. “The style of homes in our new section will compliment those homes that are already existing in the community.”
Home sizes range from a minimum of 2,500 square feet to 6,000 square feet.
“Most homes in the community are in the 2,600- to 3,600-square-foot range, with a few exceptions,” Wake said.
Prices for new homes start in the low $500,000s.
McClure sold the 32 homes in Section 3 in a matter of months.
Low mortgage rates and the fact that new construction isn’t keeping up with demand have fueled the strong sales. The COVID pandemic has played a role, too.
“Powhatan is rural, and I think COVID has helped drive our sales because homebuyers have wanted more space in the last year,” McClure said.
McClure will open Section 4, which has 17 lots, in June.
“The new section’s really beautiful, with two- to four-acre lots,” McClure said. “It has an open hay field surrounded by trees, and it backs up onto a large common area with a pond.”
McClure estimates he will finish construction in mid-2023 if he can get the fifth and final section started next spring.
“We’re going to build a bridge across a pond to access Section 5 this fall,” McClure said.
The community has four ponds, which are open to homeowners looking for a place to fish. (The largest of the ponds covers eight acres, and a walking path encircles it.)
The community’s rural setting is a large portion of its appeal, along with its proximity to Short Pump Town Center and Westchester Commons, each of which is less than a 30-minute ride away, McClure says.
He added: “You move to Tilman’s Farm because you have a dream of owning land while still living in a neighborhood. It’s the best of both worlds.”