Fox Ridge? Breedenville plans afoot

Ever since March, when about a thousand acres south of town went up for grabs, local real estate watchers eagerly wondered who would be the highest bidder for Forest Lodge, the land surrounding the Virginia Polo Center and the Biscuit Run artists enclave off Old Lynchburg Road.

"It's still not signed," says the doyenne of Biscuit Run, Elizabeth Breeden, whose husband, David, is one of 18 heirs to the estate of his father, I.J. Breeden, the settling of which put the close-in property on the block. She doesn't know who has bid on Forest Lodge or for what price. "They won't tell us until it's signed," she explains, "because an heir could object."

However, Albemarle County received a rezoning application September 26 from Forest Lodge Land Trust LLC– the current owner– to turn 870 rural acres into a neighborhood model district, says Albemarle planner Elaine Echols. The proposed development is blandly dubbed "Fox Ridge" on the application.

"Just because we've received an application doesn't mean it's in review," says Echols. "We spend about 10 days making sure all the ownership information is correct and that the people making the application are authorized."

Scott Collins from the Timmons Group, which builds "world class communities," according to the company's website, submitted the rezoning application.

The Timmons Group also drew up a plan for 1,050 single family residences, 850 townhouses, 2,800 apartments and condos, and 350,000 square feet of commercial, retail and office space– a plan that developer Hunter Craig recently presented to a group of realtors, according to a reliable source. A $45-$46 million price tag also is being bandied about as the property's sales price. If the figure is correct, it would be a new record in Albemarle County.

Craig and Collins did not return phone calls by press time.

A neighborhood model rezoning "is one of the more detailed rezoning classifications we have," says Echols. She says county planners will have comments about the application in about a month.

A plan for rural-yet-close-in Forest Lodge calls for 4,700 residential units and 350,000 square feet of commercial space.