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Study calls for Innsbrook to turn into village

By Matt Butner - bio | email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Innsbrook may need to re-invent itself in order to survive.  The Henrico County office park has suffered from high vacancy rates.  The answer, according to the county's planning department, is to diversify.

The old Innsbrook is just an office park.  It has sprawling parking lots, some of which are all but empty. 

Henrico County planning director Joe Emerson and his staff have envisioned a new Innsbrook-- one that will continue to thrive in the future.   

"The way we see to create and maintain it as a vital jobs center is to allow the mixing of uses," said Emerson.

That would mean adding more homes, shops, and restaurants along Cox and Nuckols roads.  It may also mean adding mixed- use high rises. 

"It also re-uses existing infrastructure, it reduces sprawl throughout the county, and just takes it to the logical next level as the county urbanizes," said Emerson.

The plan will require approval by the board of supervisors to move forward, and even then it could be decades before it is finally realized. The public will have a say, too. The plan will be unveiled at an open house Tuesday.

The county sent notices about the meeting to nearby neighborhoods. They're expecting to hear some concerns, but some neighbors here are cautiously optimistic about the area's future.

"No, it's not a bad plan at all if it's done correctly," said Chad Kelfa, doing yard work in front of his home off Springfield Road, near Innsbrook.

Kelfa says he supports the idea, but wants to be sure the area is ready to handle an explosion of traffic.    

"I'd like to see the transportation issues taken care of before anything is built there," he said.    

Of particular concern to Kelfa is the interchange at Nuckols road and I-295, which he calls a 'mess' during rush hour.

"Let's do it right," said Kelfa.  "Let's not have a bridge to nowhere, you know?"

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