More than 400 acres of state-owned land in James City County associated with Eastern State Hospital are now officially for sale, including several buildings once used by the hospital.
The land could be sold as one large block or in parcels.
The property is situated along Route 199 near Longhill Road, with the majority of it on the Williamsburg side of the road. The 419.98 acres represent much of the last undeveloped land in the area. The largest section surrounds the current hospital and borders Route 199 to the west, New Town to the south and DePue Drive to the north and east.
The remainder of the land is straddled by Ford’s Colony on the western side of Route 199. The neighborhood and highway ensconce all but a tiny entry point along Longhill Road.
CBRE, the commercial real estate firm handling the sale for the state, has not named an asking price. Virginia Department of General Services Spokeswoman Dena Potter said state law requires the commonwealth to receive fair market value, which will be done by marketing the land through the broker and inviting offers from interested parties.
The land was declared surplus in May 2013 by the Virginia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services, which operates Eastern State Hospital. Since then, the Department of General Services evaluated the property prior to placing it for sale in late October.
The population at the hospital peaked at about 2,500 in the 1960s, but the population declined as mental health services were restructured in the ensuing years. There is currently capacity for 300 patients. About 60 additional acres of undeveloped land not included in the sale will remain in state control for future development at the hospital if needed.
Future uses of the land will depend on who purchases it. A conceptual study was released in 2008 by the Crossroads Group — a coalition of local governments and other groups in the area — that proposes a large development including parks, trails, protected wetlands, an elementary school and a town center area with a mix of businesses and housing.
There is no deadline by which the land must sell.