The next stage in the development of Old Trail will happen under a new management team. Manchester Capital Management LLC has been hired by the principal financial backers of Old Trail, Jay and Suzanne Jessup, to revisit the master plan for the 2,200-unit project and to arrange for a full-time project manager who will operate out of an office in the commercial village, according to Andy Bush, one of the new management team members. Gaylon and Justin Beights of Beights Development Company, who have seen the project through its first 10 years, retain stakes in the project, but will not be active in directing it.
Manchester Capital Management with offices in Manchester, Vermont, New York City and Montecito, California, oversees $2 billion dollars in investments according to Jeff Hall, who handles real estate assets for the group. The company describes itself as a family-oriented, consulting firm that focuses on wealth stewardship that is tailored to the specific needs of clients.
“We’re focused on making Old Trail successful,” Bush said. The firm did an analysis of the project’s strategic and capital plans earlier this year.
Bush said that the team, which began organizing in April, is finalizing the selection of the new project manager.
“The scale has gotten to the point where it needs more day-to-day management,” he explained. “It’s been a decade at Old Trail now. We’re positioning it for the next decade.
“We’re starting with easy things and proceeding to complicated things.” For starters, he said, they will be doing more to ensure shade around the Old Trail swimming pool and they are making turf and tee improvements on the golf course.
Two complete blocks of the project between the village center and Rt. 250 are about to start construction, he said. Each block will have 35-40 houses in it, mainly single-family homes with some townhouses facing Old Trail Drive. Bush said he expects eight foundations to be put in in the first block in June. The lots in both blocks are completely sold out to builders, mainly the same companies that have been building in the project in recent years.
Bush said new development will put an emphasis on urban parks and increasing the green space in the plan. The team has hired the noted Charlottesville landscape architecture firm Nelson Byrd Woltz, which was instrumental in the creation of the Crozet Master Plan in 2004, to imagine the future features of the project. The firm won prizes for its design of a planned community named WaterColor, similar to and next door to Seaside, Florida, an admired New Urbanist-concept project.
“They are helping us create a framework of urban blocks with urban parks,” said Bush. “It’s a refinement of the master plan for the project.”
Bush said that planning for the next set of commercial buildings in the village is underway and that three separate structures are being contemplated. “The goal is to create independent buildings that feel more like a village,” he said. “We’ll sell those as independent parcels.” He said details for the new buildings will not be finalized for another six months.