Exiting the City across any bridge takes you from somewhere to Zone 60. From any of the Downtown Bridges, you arrive in Manchester. From the famed Nickel Bridge, you land in Westover Hills and from the Huguenot Bridge, you arrive in Stratford Hills. This is important in that it makes Zone 60 a popular area for those who seek value yet wish to remain ‘close-in’ to the City with the amenities inherent in any urban environment.
Semmes Avenue/Forest Hill Avenue (it changes name near the Forest Hill Park) is the constant in this area (along with the James River) as it connects all of the Zone 60 Neighborhoods moving west and south from Manchester. Beginning in Manchester (both the industrial section and the more residential one south of Commerce), Forest Hill/Semmes will take you through Woodland Heights, Westover Hills (and the famed Riverside Drive), Willow Oaks, Stratford Hills and eventually ending at the Chesterfield line near Bon Air/Stony Point.
The Forest Hill Avenue is especially fascinating in that it captures close to 200 years of housing and development (Stratford Hills was being developed as a part of Chesterfield County when annexed in the late 1970’s) and thus, tells the story of Richmond (and residential development ideas of various eras), both good and bad, through its housing. Industrial Manchester, filled with turn of the century warehouse stock, has rapidly changed from economically obsolete to vibrant and relevant. Residential Manchester and its plethora of vacant lots is primed for rebound. Woodland Heights, with its historic designation in 2010 and proximity to the River, is also in excellent position to see values begin to spike when the next real estate run comes. Westover Hills and Riverside Drive have weathered the downturn as well as any other area and is one area where the ‘tear down’ or giant addition is becoming an more common occurrence. Stratford Hills has also undergone a tremendous upgrade with the addition of the Stony Point Fashion Park and the power center at Chippenham/Forest Hill that have brought back retail to the neighborhood in a big way.