May home sales led by two $3M deals, including 19th century riverside estate

Parts of the Mt. Bernard house date to the mid 1800s. (Photos courtesy of CVRMLS)

In a month filled with multimillion-dollar transactions, area home sales in May were led by two deals that topped the $3 million mark, including a historic riverside estate in Goochland.

The top sale was a multiparcel purchase that included Mt. Bernard, a 19th century estate in Maidens at 2371 River Road W. The $3.6 million sale, which closed May 18, includes the 58-acre estate property and an adjacent 63-acre parcel that was listed separately.

Several outbuildings and barns make up the riverside estate.

Because of the separate listings, the Mt. Bernard sale came in on the Central Virginia Regional Multiple Listing Service as a $2.6 million transaction, reflecting only the main estate property. But the addition of the adjacent 63 acres took the combined price to $3.6 million, as reflected in Goochland property records.

Richard Bower

The house property was listed in March at $2.8 million and went under contract three weeks later. Richard Bower with Joyner Fine Properties had the listing.

The seller was Maria Becker, who had owned Mt. Bernard since the late 1970s with her husband and fellow physician Donald Becker. Donald, who died in 2020, was a chief neurosurgeon at UCLA Medical Center and a former chairman at the Medical College of Virginia (now VCU Health).

Property records list the buyers as Jhimy and Mary Ortuno, a local couple who resided in the area. They were represented by Emily Stanford, an agent in Long & Foster’s Church Hill office.

Emily Stanford

Stanford said the Ortunos were looking for land, not a house, when they came across the Mt. Bernard listing.

“We originally were looking for parcels of land over 50 acres in Goochland. I looked a little deeper and found that there was a parcel with a house on it,” Stanford said.

“My buyers already lived out that way, so they drive by the house often and have considered what it would be like to have a family farm,” she said. “There are beautiful pastures out there for horses, there’s frontage to the river, and they were just really excited about it and they’re in a position to make that purchase.”

A third Becker-owned parcel was also available for purchase but was not included in the purchase. Stanford said the Ortunos were in the market for at least 50 acres and were satisfied with the land between the two parcels.

She said the Ortunos are also considering the possibility of turning the property into a bed and breakfast or a wedding venue in the future. The property is next door to The Estate at River Run, a wedding and events venue in the former Massey family mansion previously known as River Run Manor.

A staircase highlights the antebellum-style house, which includes a bar in the adjoining room.

Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, Mt. Bernard dates to the mid-19th century, with the parts of the main house built around 1850. The antebellum-style estate was purchased in the 1920s by Coca-Cola magnate Robert Woodruff and in the 1940s by T. Brady Saunders, namesake of the nearby Boy Scouts camp.

After purchasing the estate in the late 1970s, the Beckers added onto and modernized the house in the early 2000s, according to Bower’s listing. Described by the Virginia Department of Historic Resources as “a fine example of antebellum domestic architecture and progressive Classical Revival updates,” the 8,300-square-foot house totals four bedrooms and 4½ bathrooms.

The house includes a fireplace with a pizza oven.

The property includes several outbuildings, a renovated guest house, a three-car garage, and a stone icehouse or root cellar that dates to the early 1900s. An equestrian estate, the property also includes a three-level bank barn with more than 17 stalls, multiple paddocks, pastures, storage buildings and run-in sheds.

Other features include a pool house complex with heated saltwater pool, hardscaping with a fire pit, and a kitchen, sauna and veranda. The property also features gardens and terraces toward the river.

The 58-acre property and house were most recently assessed by the county at $2.8 million. The adjacent 63-acre parcel was assessed at $816,900.

A separate pool house complex features a heated saltwater pool.

Bower said Maria Becker will remain in the area after passing on the estate she’s called home for four decades.

“It’s a property that she owned with her beloved husband, and after he passed away, she’s ready to let someone else take the reins there and to enjoy it like she and her husband Donald did,” Bower said.

“The buyers, I think, share a lot of values that the Beckers did in terms of being good stewards to the property,” he added. “They seem to me to fully understand the property and are very connected to it and will be good stewards going forward.”

The mansion at 314 St. Davids Lane was the month’s second-priciest sale.

May’s second-priciest sale was 314 St. Davids Lane in Richmond’s Windsor Farms neighborhood. The 8,700-square-foot mansion with five bedrooms and 5½ bathrooms sold May 17 for $3.1 million, above its February list price of $2.9 million.

Anne Hall with Long & Foster had the listing for the seller, listed in property records as a trust for Dorothy Pauley, who died last year. She and her late husband, longtime Carpenter Co. Chairman and CEO Stanley Pauley, who died in 2020, had owned the property since 1977, when they purchased it for $255,000. The city assessed the 2.3-acre property at $2.4 million.

Property records list the buyers as Walter and Karen Moore, who were the previous owners of 303 Lock Lane, the No. 5 sale on this list. They were represented by Sally Hawthorne with Shaheen Ruth Martin & Fonville Real Estate.

Rounding out the top five sales for May, according to CVRMLS, were three $2 million deals:

18 Hampton Hills Lane, Hampton Hills, Richmond – $2.3 million. Listing agent: Page George, Maison Real Estate; buyer’s agent: Anne Chewning, The Steele Group | SIR.

1102 Shallow Well Road, Manakin-Sabot, Goochland – $2.2 million. Listing agent: Pam Diemer, Long & Foster; buyer’s agent: Chris Elliott, Action Real Estate.

303 S. Lock Lane, Windsor Farms, Richmond – $2.2 million. Listing agents: Sally Hawthorne and Brooke Hatcher, SRMF; buyer’s agent: Ben Woodard, Coldwell Banker Avenues.