• psst … I’m a Realtor! Thanks for stopping by my website. I would love to help you find your dream home and community in the Hampton Roads or Williamsburg area or to sell your existing home. This website is authored by local resident and REALTOR, John Womeldorf. John is known around town as Mr. Williamsburg, for both his extensive knowledge of Hampton Roads and the historic triangle, and his expertise in the local real estate market. His websites, WilliamsburgsRealEstate.com and Mr Williamsburg.com were created as a resource for folks who are exploring a move to Williamsburg, VA , Hampton Roads VA and the surrounding areas of the Virginia Peninsula. On his website you can search homes for sale , foreclosures, 55+ active adult communities, condos and town homes , land and commercial property for sale in Williamsburg, Yorktown, New Kent, Poquoson, and Gloucester, VA as well as surrounding markets of Carrolton, Chesapeake,Gloucester, Hampton, Isle of Wight, Portsmouth Mathews, Newport News Norfolk, Poquoson, Smithfield, , Suffolk, Surry, Va Beach, Yorktown and York County Virginia You can reach John by email John@MrWilliamsburg.com or phone @ 757-254-813

How to Start & Manage Your Own Business

This seminar is sponsored by SCORE and presented by local, seasoned professionals from the volunteer staff of Williamsburg SCORE

Are you interested in starting a business but concerned about
  • how to begin?
  • where to begin?
  • whether your idea makes sense?

Here’s your chance to get some answers.

After this workshop you will know …
  • how a business plan can help you
  • your options for a legal structure of the business
  • the importance of creating a budget
  • the good news and the bad news about getting financing for your business
  • how to define your product or service benefits and your target customer
  • where to look for help and guidance

Don’t fall into the trap of "Build it and they will come" (because they won’t)

Where:
Williamsburg Library, Schell Room
515 Scotland St, Williamsburg VA 23185

When: Wednesday, August 29, 6:00 – 8:00 PM

FREE ADMISSION, BUT SPACE IS LIMITED SO REGISTER NOW

Click for details.

Former Williamsburg Marriot Sold to Interstate Hotels

Interstate Hotels & Resorts today announced that it has formed its fourth joint venture with Waramaug Hospitality LLC and a private investment group and acquired the 295-room Williamsburg Hotel & Conference Center (formerly, the Marriott Hotel Williamsburg) for an undisclosed amount. The hotel will immediately undergo a $7.5 million comprehensive renovation and convert to the  upscale DoubleTree by Hilton brand. Interstate will manage the hotel under a long-term contract.Interstate Hotels & Resorts is slowly building up its ownership portfolio, with joint venture partner Waramaug Hospitality L.L.C. at its side. Now Interstate and Waramaug have teamed on the acquisition of the former Marriott Hotel Williamsburg, a 295-room lodging destination near the historic Colonial Williamsburg historic district in Williamsburg, Va.

Interstate has wasted precious little time in pursuing its repositioning plan for the property, having already renamed it the Williamsburg Hotel & Conference Center. That’s just the beginning. The global hotel management company will invest $7.5 million on a renovation program that will transform the hotel into an upper-scale product carrying the DoubleTree by Hilton flag.

Located on 15 wooded acres within the Busch Corporate Center in Williamsburg, the hotel is the closest hotel to Busch Gardens and within minutes of Colonial Williamsburg, the College of William & Mary and world-class golf courses, with easy access to both the Richmond and Norfolk airports. The Williamsburg Hotel & Conference Center features 45,000 square feet of meeting space for up to 1,600 people and an auditorium with capacity for more than 700. Other amenities include three dining options, an indoor/outdoor connecting swimming pool, seasonal tennis courts and a full-service fitness and business center.

For more information about The Williamsburg Hotel & Conference Center, please visit www.thewilliamsburghotelcc.com

The Williamsburg Hotel marks Interstate and Waramaug’s second purchase this year, and their fourth joint venture endeavor. In January, the partners purchased the 300-room Crowne Plaza Columbus North hotel in Ohio. And last year, the companies teamed up to buy the 265-room Crowne Plaza Tampa East in Florida and Colorado’s Sheraton Denver Tech Center.

Interstate and Waramaug are sticking to the non-core markets and properties that will benefit substantially from comprehensive upgrades. All four of their hotels will get multimillion-dollar makeovers. “This partnership is looking at turnaround opportunities, and those that we’ve found so far have been in good secondary markets,” said Blum. “And in each case, these properties have been neglected and lacked significant capital improvements.”

Together, Interstate and Waramaug plan to shell out as much as $300 million on acquisitions over the next year or so.

2012 Williamsburg Habitat for Humanity HOME BUILDERS BLITZ

imageFive local professional homebuilders are joining Habitat for Humanity to build five homes for five low-income families in 30 days in James City County
Habitat for Humanity’s Home Builders Blitz 2012 brings hundreds of building industry professionals with nationwide projections to build more than 200 homes across the United States. This Blitz Build is the only one taking place in Virginia and the 4th largest in the country.

The builders are:Charles Ross Homes, Garnett Construction, Earley and Associates Building Inc., Tidewater Properties & Construction Company and Wayne Harbin Builder, Inc.

Wayne Harbin Builder is building their home in 7 DAYS!

imageThis is the 3rd Home Builders Blitz home Wayne Harbin Builder will have completed in SEVEN DAYS (they built the first one in 2006, then 2008 and now this year)!  
Wayne Harbin Builder was founded in Yorktown, Virginia in 1985 by Wayne Harbin and now includes his two sons Doug and Brad. Home Enhancements, the Remodel Division of Wayne Harbin Builder was formed in 2007 by Doug and Brad Harbin to expand the company to cover the needs for quality additions and renovations. “It is our good fortune to be able to give back and serve the community in this way,” said Brad Harbin, Vice President of Wayne Harbin Builder, Inc. “We are enlisting the help of our suppliers, subcontractors, employees and business associates.”  This one story, three bedroom, two bathroom home is being constructed for Angele Cowles and her two sons, 14-year old Kitrell and 13-year old Devron. Angele works for the Williamsburg-James City County Public Schools as a bus driver and for the Salvation Army

How truly amazing to walk into the Wayne Harbin Builder home and see it is basically done!  From last Saturday when they started to frame the home to the finished home today is truly astonishing!  The cabinets are in, the walls are finished, the final flooring was just being put in place, and someone was even hanging a beautiful ceiling fan!  Truly remarkable!

 

 

 

The other wonderful builders were continuing their amazing work on all the other homes.

Follow the progress here http://www.habitatpgw.org/hbb-2012-blog.html

La Tienda hires new COO

imageLa Tienda, the Williamsburg VA, Va.-based specialty importer of gourmet foods from Spain, has hired Jim Easton has joined  as COO. For the previous 10 years, Easter was vice president of the products division with Colonial Williamsburg. He previously worked with retailers such as Toys R Us, Lord & Taylor and Dayton Hudson.
“We are thrilled to have Jim on board, given his vast experience in consumer product marketing and business development,” said Tim Harris, CEO and co-owner. “He’s a terrific addition to our passionate and talented staff at La Tienda.”

 

imageLa Tienda just celebrated its 15th anniversary as an online retailer with distribution channels through the internet, catalog and a retail store.

La Tienda offers more than 800 gourmet foods from Spain. Family-owned and managed, the business is dedicated to working with artisan and small family businesses.

The La Tienda retail store in Williamsburg is a 3600 square foot store offers all of their great products from Spain, plus wine tastings and other special events. There’s always someone on hand to guide your exploration of Spanish food or regale you with stories from the byways of Spain.

For a more detailed account of how La Tienda.com came to be, you can read Don’s reflection A Love Affair with Spain: How La Tienda Began.

Food Lion in Williamsburg awarded LEED certification

The new Food Lion grocery store recently opened in  Williamsburg, Va.,  (Croaker Rd & Richmond Rd) has been awarded a LEED Silver certification for a number of environmentally friendly construction and energy-efficient features.

Established by the U.S. Green Building Council, LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification recognizes the design, construction and operation of high performance green buildings.

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Divaris named leasing agent for Marquis Center in Williamsburg

Divaris Real Estate has been appointed the exclusive leasing and management firm for The Marquis Shopping Center, located at Route 199 and I-64 in Williamsburg, Virginia. The Marquis is a 750,000-square-foot, regional power center.  At its completion, The Marquis will be the largest retail development in Williamsburg, featuring specialty retailers and restaurants and several big-box retailers including Target, Kohl’s, Dick’s Sporting Goods, Best Buy and JCPenney.
All five major anchor tenants are committed to staying in Williamsburg, having signed on with The Marquis during its pre-development stage.   “The tenants are pleased with the performance of their stores and happy with the co-tenants that exist in The Marquis,” said Shawn Todd, CEO of Todd Interests, the development company that recently purchased the property. To that extent Dick’s and Best Buy have extended their leases since ownership changed in late 2011.
“Now that Todd Interests have acquired the property and have stabilized the issues of The Marquis’ former developer, we are excited about the ongoing plans for redevelopment,” said David Berndt, Partner in David Berndt Interests, Ltd., who has entered into a joint venture with Todd Interests for the additional development of the site.
Phase I of The Marquis is now open and Phase II is expected to be delivered by the fall of 2013.  In addition to the major big box anchor tenants, negotiations are underway with several restaurants, soft goods, apparel and a theater tenant.
“The Marquis is located off Interstate 64 with unique demographics and physical attributes. This makes the large development regional in nature, with a draw that reaches Gloucester,” said Divaris.

Hotel Management Company opens in Williamsburg VA

Local hotel veterans Kimberly Christner and partner Craig Larson celebrated the opening of their new management company ,Cornerstone Hospitality which opened its doors on April 2, 2012 in Williamsburg, Virginia. The company will be focused on property management and development of select service brands and Life-Style hotels, as well as boutique, small resort and historic properties.

Cornerstone Hospitality was created with the owner in mind. With focus on personal attention, revenue maximization, sales and exceptional operating programs, the firm’s principals have a combined experience of nearly 50 years and a great reputation in the hospitality community.

Kimberly Christner said that when they started talking about forming a management company they took great time and care in developing their desired culture. “We wanted to be sure that we were a different kind of hotel management company. There are a lot of choices available. We needed to distinguish ourselves from the mega management companies. So, our company focus is a bottom up approach. It’s about developing the people who operate the properties, creating a culture that can be seen and felt at a property as well as insuring that we personally touch our hotels and our teams on a weekly basis. Our guiding principle is about treating people the way we would want to be treated. Thus, we operate the managed hotels we oversee as if we own them. That’s our ‘cornerstone’ and it’s a profitable one for our owners.”

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Mad About Chocolate Opens This Saturday

imageChef and author Marcel Desaulniers hasn’t quite retired, in fact he is opening a new chocolate café in Williamsburg where he will serve some of his signature over-the-top chocolate desserts, cookies, brownies and much, much more!
Your chocolate cravings can be filled starting this Saturday April 14th when Mad About Chocolate is scheduled to open at 204 Armistead Avenue.

Marcel Deaulniers, author of Death by Chocolate and former chef/owner of the Trellis Restaurant is opening MAD about Chocolate in Williamsburg VA.

Following a two-year rest (which he apparently spent with visions of chocolate spinning in his head) Marcel Desaulniers, award-winning chef and author of “Death by Chocolate,” will open MAD about Chocolate, a chocolate café.

This  chocolate cafe  will serve Marcel’s over-the-top desserts (he originated Death by Chocolate Cake back in 1982 – long before it became part of the vernacular). MAD about Chocolate will also offer cookies, brownies, ice cream and assorted other concoctions, plus sweet and non-sweet versions of cheesecake, bread pudding, pies as well as soups and beverages.

Need more temptation?

Everything will be made from scratch using all-natural ingredients in the MAD about Chocolate open kitchen. With only 12 seats, take-out and internet sales will be a large part of the business.

Marcel will operate MAD about Chocolate with his wife, Connie, an artist who has owned a marketing agency for 22 years. The interior will include Connie’s art, and many of the components – such as tables, light fixtures and display counters – will be created by local artisans.

The art-filled café will be located at the Triangle Building, 204 Armistead Ave., a block from Colonial Williamsburg and The College of William and Mary.

In addition to being chef and  co-owner of the Trellis Restaurant in Colonial Williamsburg’s Merchant Square for 30 years Marcel wrote 10 cookbooks (eight about chocolate) and won numerous culinary awards.

Location Map and Directions to Mad About Chocolate

D.o.G. Street Pub Opening Soon In Williamsburg

imageA message from Michael Claar, general manager of the new  D.o.G. Street Pub:
Every dog has his day…ours is in April. Chef David Everett’s D.o.G. Street Pub plans to open its doors around the middle of the month. Once the Suntrust Bank, this American Gastropub will feature 17 draft imports and craft beers to compliment Chef Everett’s delectable "Pub Grub."
Guests can enjoy a relaxed lunch on the patio wrapping around the corner of Henry and D.o.G. Street or elbow up to the bar for a late evening dry Irish stout.  See you soon!

Serving lunch, dinner and late-night, 11a.m.-12a.m. Sun-Thu, 11a.m.-1a.m. Fri-Sat.  757-293-6478

Settlement rejected in Carter’s Grove bankruptcy case

Carters Grove Williamsburg VAA judge has thrown out a proposed settlement between millionaire Halsey Minor and Colonial Williamsburg, calling a plan to have the foundation loan Minor hundreds of thousands of dollars to fix-up the deteriorating mansion "preposterous."
According to the settlement plan submitted last week, Colonial Williamsburg would advance Minor up to $800,000 to pay for repairs and expenses to maintain the mansion. He would pay the money back with 4% annual interest tacked on.
The goal is to eventually sell Carter’s Grove, a process that took three years when Colonial Williamsburg put the property up for sale in 2006.
The plan didn’t sit well with Bankruptcy Court Judge Stephen C. St. John. According to a report in Sunday’s Virginian-Pilot. He ordered a trustee be appointed to handle the administration of the property, taking the role from Minor.

Read more in the Va Gazette here

Carter’s Grove was donated to the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation in the late 1960s, and it was used to illustrate 18th-century plantation life until 2002.

But faced with a growing deficit, the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation sold Carter’s Grove in 2007 to Halsey Minor for $15.3 million. Minor had agreed to maintain the property, putting down $5 million and securing the rest with a foundation loan.

But Minor stopped making payments in summer 2010, and the foundation sought foreclosure. Minor’s Carter’s Grove LLC then filed for bankruptcy protection.

The foundation says it’s owed $4.1 million and interest.

Minor has said publicly that he had no choice but to place his Carter’s Grove LLC in bankruptcy. In his filing, he claims $12 million in debts, all encumbered on the property.

Foundation officials allege that instead of maintaining and repairing the building, Minor used the equity in it for a $5 million lease of a personal jet, secured with a lien on Carter’s Grove, according to court filings. Now the jet company, AVN Air LLC, has filed a claim with the bankruptcy court.

Minor also purchased millions in artwork from Sotheby’s auctions, secured through a third lien on Carter’s Grove. Sotheby’s says it’s owed $3.4 million.

W&M Real Estate Conference April 11th & 12th

imageVolatility in the real estate market has been on nearly everyone’s mind for the last few years given the ripple effect it has caused on the economy.

The Mason School of Business is hosting its second annual real estate conference where three global real estate powerhouses and pre-eminent experts in the real estate field will converge to discuss Surviving Today, Succeeding Tomorrow on the historic campus of the College of William & Mary in Williamsburg, VA, April 11 +12.

John Cushman of Cushman and Wakefield, Walter Rakowich of Prologis, and Ken Himmel of Related Urban will headline the event which will explore the next steps and challenges real estate professionals should consider in the current climate.

Tickets may be purchased by individuals for $150 each.

 More details here

Pottery Is Almost Ready For Grand Re-Opening

050 (Medium)A new chapter is about to unfold  for the Williamsburg Pottery.

After 13 months of construction the 160,000 sq. ft. retail project is getting ready for it’s grand re-opening.

The $30-million revitalization and construction project is creating an entirely new design and shopping experience beginning in April 2012.

The Grand Opening is scheduled for April 5, 2012 – the 100th birthday of the company’s revered founder, Jimmy Maloney.

 

Want to go?
Grand opening events begin this Thursday, April 5, at 10 a.m. with a welcome and unveiling of a tribute to Maloney, a ribbon-cutting ceremony at 10:30 a.m. and doors opening to shoppers at 11 a.m.

Gov. Bob McDonnell and Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling are slated to attend.

Construction began on the new Williamsburg Pottery in December, 2010 at the original 1938 location on Richmond Road, following demolition of the old outlet buildings on the site.  047

Also nearing completion at the front of the Pottery parking lot  is Williamsburg’s first Au Bon Pain, a cafe that specializes in artisan breads, pastries, sandwiches, soups, and much more.

049Guernsey-Tingle Architects designed the Pottery project in a traditional European Market theme.

imageProminent features of the new Williamsburg Pottery include a unique silhouette with energy-efficient lighting and a courtyard with a stage for live music and performances, plus inside/outside seating at the Café & Bakery and Deli.

Shoppers will still find the Pottery’s famous range of artisans and their services, such as the award-winning custom framing and silk floral arrangement, as well as its famed salt-glaze pottery and "own-grown" geraniums and plants, all produced on the Pottery’s grounds.

These will be joined by diverse merchandise, including glassware, china, cookware and kitchen gadgets, gourmet foods, artisanal wines and craft beers, home fashions, lamps, home decor, candles and home fragrances, Virginia gifts and country store, seasonal items and much more.

The manufacture of the famous Salt Glaze Pottery continues in its previous location on the "Solar Side" of the tracks along with greenhouse operation.

The owners estimate that 60 or more jobs will be created with the re-opening

For more information. 

Check back here for the date of a Preview Opening in March 2012!

What’s your favorite Pottery memory ? Please share below……

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Dominion is seeking feedback

Dominion is currently seeking public feedback on a Surry-Skiffes Creek 500kV transmission line route, to compare it to the Chickahominy- Skiffes Creek 500kV transmission line route that we continue to evaluate. The 7.2-mile Surry-Skiffes Creek route would originate in Surry, cross the James River, and terminate in James City County. The scope of the Skiffes Creek-Whealton 230kV line utilizing existing right-of-way easements remains unchanged (see map below).

imageFor more information, click here

Or attend the Open House, where you can talk directly with Dominion representatives. Dominion is committed to providing reliable electricity to our customers. Electrical demand in the Hampton Roads area is projected to increase by more than 20 percent by summer 2020. This growth will challenge the existing electrical grid and create the potential for overloads and violations of North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) reliability standards. Recently announced plans for retirement of local generation facilities have accelerated the need for new transmission lines to be built and in service by late 2014. Dominion has assessed preliminary environmental, cultural and historical information and calculated the costs of electrically viable alternatives.

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Great Wolf Lodge To Be Sold to Investment Firm

Great Wolf Lodge in Williamsburg, Virginia opened in March of 2005. The family resort and indoor water park offers family-sized guest suites and a 64,000 square-foot indoor entertainment area featuring a grand-scale waterpark, a spa, an arcade, and restaurants. New York-based Apollo Global Management LLC said Tuesday it will buy Great Wolf Lodge Resorts for $703 million, which includes taking on the company’s outstanding debt.

Great Wolf Resorts, which operates 11 properties around the country, including one in Williamsburg, VA

These resorts generally feature 300–600 rooms and a large indoor entertainment area measuring 40,000–100,000 square feet. The all-suite properties offer a variety of room styles, arcade/game rooms, fitness rooms, themed restaurants, spas, supervised children’s activities and other amenities.

The transaction was unanimously recommended by an independent strategic review committee of the board of directors of Great Wolf and unanimously approved by the board of directors of Great Wolf, who are recommending that Great Wolf stockholders tender their shares in the offer.

Apollo is offering to buy all outstanding shares of Great Wolf common stock for $5 per share.

The news sent Great Wolf shares up 90 cents, or 21 percent, to $5.09 in morning trading.

Apollo Global Management, LLC is an investment firm, founded in 1990 by former Drexel Burnham Lambert banker Leon Black. The firm specializes in leveraged buyout transactions and purchases of distressed securities involving corporate restructuring, special situations and industry consolidations. The firm has invested over $16 billion in companies.

As of September 2011, Apollo managed over $65 billion of investor commitments across its private equity, capital markets and real estate funds and other investment vehicles Among the most notable companies currently owned by Apollo are AMC Entertainment, Claire’s, Caesars Entertainment Corporation, Norwegian Cruise Line, and Realogy (Coldwell Banker. Sotheby’s International Realty and Century 21 Real Estate), CKE (Hardee’s and Carl’s Jr. Restaurants. Ltd) and CKX (American Idol, Elvis Presley, Muhammad Ali and Cedar Fair Entertainment Company, a company that owns and operates eleven amusement parks and seven water parks across North America including an indoor water park in Sandusky, Ohio.

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Dress Barn is coming to Williamsburg VA

Another new tenant signs at Settlers Market as Williamsburg , Virginia’s retail market continues to gain momentum.

The Dress Barn has  announced plans to open a new dress store at Settlers Market adjacent to New Town. The store is set to open in March of 2013.

Dress Barn will join  Stein Mart, HomeGoods, Michaels and ULTA who all committed to the shopping center last year.

Negotiations are also underway to bring a Five Below and a Shoe Carnival store to the complex.

These stores will anchor the next phase of retail development slated to be completed by fall 2012, with a construction start expected in early 2012. In addition to the new anchors, a lease has been signed with Sleepy’s for the entire 7,300-square foot retail building fronting Monticello Avenue and adjacent to Trader Joe’s.

Still no word from Wal Mart on or if they will be opening a “Neighborhood Market” on their parcel

When fully developed, Settlers Market shopping center will feature 250,000 square feet of well merchandised retail space with a planned residential component located along Settlers Market Boulevard adjacent to the center. FCP and its partner, Westmoreland Partners, are represented in retail leasing by the Norfolk office of The Shopping Center Group.

Federal Capital Partners is a Washington, DC based, privately held real estate investment company that has acquired interests in more than $3 billion of assets since 2003. FCP invests in multi-family and commercial assets throughout the Mid-Atlantic region, including Washington

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Where in the World Do My Readers Come From ?

If like me you have wondered where on Earth all the visitors to this site are from  we just implemented a new feature on “Mr Williamsburg” that gives us a snapshot of where the readers are in the word.

Below is a map color shaded by quantity for the last seven days.  I can now truly say this site is read around the world.

See for yourself.

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And here are the top countries that are reading it in order. OF course the U.S. is the dominant area by far.

Track Your Bud–Where was your bud born ?

imageBeer drinkers can now trace their Budweiser back to the company’s Williamsburg brewery or Budweiser’s breweries in St Louis Merrimack, N.H.; Baldwinsville, N.Y.; Newark, N.J.; Williamsburg, Va.; Cartersville, Ga.; Jacksonville, Fla.; Columbus, Ohio;Houston, Texas; Fort Collins, Colo.; Fairfield, Calif.; and Los Angeles, Calif. 

The beer maker has launched a mobile application called “Track Your Bud” that lets drinkers trace the origin of their beer back to one of its 12 U.S. breweries.

After scanning the code on the beer, drinkers get a guided tour of how and where the beer is made. For beers brewed in Virginia, customers will get content narrated by Dan Westmoreland. He’s been the senior brew master at the Williamsburg, VA brewery since 2008 and has worked for Anheuser-Busch for 32 years.

The "Track Your Bud" platform includes a social application, available now on iTunes and later this week on Android Market, that integrates with Facebook to connect beer drinkers across the country with each other through the Budweiser they hold in their hand. Users also will be able to access video content, collect badges from each U.S. brewery and name batches of beer if they’re the first to track a beer from that particular batch.

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New App delivers local deals to W&M community

William & Mary faculty, students and staff can now be notified of special offers from local Williamsburg merchants by using their smartphone devices.William & Mary faculty, students and staff can now be notified of special offers from local Williamsburg merchants by using their smartphone devices.

W&M is the first college in the nation to use the MeNetwork, a mobile application and marketing platform.

Users simply download the free MeNetwork app and then select the businesses or college departments they’re interested in hearing from by “subscribing” to them within the app. Whenever a new special offer, event, or announcement is posted, everyone who is subscribed to that merchant or college group will be notified on their mobile phone or tablet.

Roughly 40 merchants who are already part of the W&M Express Card system are participating, and any student organization affiliated with the College can participate free of charge to promote campus events or activities.

“We’re trying to add value for the W&M Express Card program not only to our students, but also to our merchants,” said Davis.

The free app is available for iPhone, iPad, or Android devices. The MeNetwork is currently available in more than 70 U.S cities across the nation, with plans to expand into Europe this spring.

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Sweet Frog Yogurt See Business Jumping

imageDerek Cha is a man on a mission.

Actually, the founder of frozen yogurt chain Sweet Frog is man on a lot of missions. Too many, some would say.

Cha founded the chain two years ago in Henrico County. Sweet Frog now has more than 50 company-owned and franchise stores ( including one in New Town here in Williamsburg)

But he expects to have about 200 locations in 20 states by the end of the year. And by 2020, he hopes to have 1,000 U.S. shops and 1,000 international shops.

But there is much more than frozen yogurt on Cha’s mind these days. The 46-year-old businessman is on a quest to create an empire.

That empire includes a gospel rap CD he’s produced, two children’s books coming out later this year and a line of Sweet Frog-themed products.

And, if that wasn’t enough, there are charitable endeavors, here and abroad, a Sweet Frog TV show in the works and talk of a Chuck E. Cheese’s-type establishment to be called Sweet Frog Land.

“He has great vision and he’s not afraid to go for it,” said Debbie Wann, who owns two Sweet Frog locations with husband Eric through a licensing agreement.

The ideas from Cha come so fast and so furiously that employees at the company’s Chesterfield County headquarters have a standard response when the boss drops a new idea on their desk: “What the frog?”

For Cha, juggling so many ideas is not a big deal. He said he has faith that a higher power will deliver what he needs to get things done.

“I’ve been in business since I was 20 years old. I’ve always relied on God to give me wisdom,” he said. “I pray for things and do nothing about it. People just show up and want to help. This has always been my experience. People are going to show up to help me to get to this goal.”

To hear Cha speak of his plans for Sweet Frog, it’s hard to imagine that just three years ago his world financially was turned upside down.

Cha, who moved to the U.S. from South Korea when he was 12, first got into business in 1986 when he opened a frame store near Washington.

He eventually grew the single shop into a national chain, Art & Frame Depot, with more than 80 locations.

But the chain began having problems in 2006. The company’s troubles got worse when the economy faltered and people stopped buying extras for their homes. Cha was forced to sell or close all but one store. He owns one store in Dallas.

Read more here

Williamsburg VA Job Fair

The 26th Annual Williamsburg Area Job Fair will be held on Wednesday, February 29, 2012 from 10 am – 3 pm at the Crowne Plaza Williamsburg at Fort Magruder, 6945 Pocahontas Trail.

This popular event offers job seekers the opportunity to submit applications, meet and receive interviews with representatives of many of the major businesses and organizations in the area.  Anyone searching for a job, or a new career – either full or part-time – should show up with resumes in hand.

Last year’s event attracted more than 900 job applicants.

Habitat To Open ReStore in Williamsburg

The Williamsburg ReStore Grand Opening TO THE PUBLIC is Saturday, April 21, 2012 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Please make plans to join us for the event !

 

imageWhether you’re a home do-it-yourselfer, contractor or just a bargain hunter, the new Habitat ReStore in Williamsburg VA will soon provide an opportunity to shop at discount prices and help raise funds to put families in their own homes.

The store is Habitat’s second ReStore in the area , joining another location in Newport News

The Williamsburg ReStore will be located at 1303 Jamestown Road in Williamsburg in the Colony Square Shopping Center. ( in the old Fresh Market location)  A spring opening is planned.

Habitat volunteers will begin work next week  to get the building in shape for the launch of the Williamsburg ReStore location

A notice for volunteer help was posted on the groups website:

Habitat volunteers will be working next week  to get the building in shape for the launch of the Williamsburg ReStore location

We are opening a second ReStore location! Our Williamsburg ReStore needs lots of TLC before we can open to the community, and we need YOUR help getting it ready!

You can sign up to help on the Volunteer Hub-website

The Williamsburg store will start accepting donations Saturday, Feb. 18. They will be accepted 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Saturday. ReStore will pick up larger items for free, and all donations are tax-deductible.

While each ReStore is a little different and the merchandise varies with donations, most focus on home improvement goods like furniture, home accessories, building materials and appliances as well as doors, sinks and toilets.

The Williamsburg VA  Habitat ReStore will join ranks with more than 750 other Habitat for Humanity outlets across the nation that sell donated surplus building materials from builders and remodelers as well as home furniture and furnishing, tools, lighting, home décor, and books from individuals and homeowners. Some donated materials may be used directly in the construction of Habitat houses, but most will be offered for sale in the ReStore at a fraction of retail prices. All proceeds from the ReStore will be used to build Habitat houses within the area.

 ReStore resale outlets provide an environmentally and socially responsible way to keep good, reusable materials out of the waste stream while providing funding for Habitat’s community improvement work

In addition to their constructions efforts, the Habitat ReStore  increases awareness of Habitat for Humanity’s mission, recycle building materials that might otherwise end up in landfills, and provides additional opportunities for those seeking meaningful volunteer opportunities in our community,”

Habitat for Humanity Peninsula and Greater Williamsburg brings people together to build homes and hope in the communities of Hampton, James City County, Newport News, Poquoson, Williamsburg and York County.

The organization partners with area families, local government, businesses, faith groups, schools, associations and individual volunteers and donors to build safe, decent affordable homes and also to repair homes for lower-income families.

Since its founding in 1986 Habitat for Humanity Peninsula and Greater Williamsburg has completed over 120 houses in our immediate area.

In an economy where it’s unusual to find a business opening new stores, expanding existing ones and enjoying brisk sales, the non-profit Habitat for Humanity is bucking economic trends with its ReStore outlets.

The first ReStore opened in the mid-1980s in Winnipeg, Canada, followed by the first U.S. store in Austin, as a way for Habitat to raise revenue and promote its message of sustainability, says Larry Gluth,a  Habitat senior vice president.

The concept has grown continually the past 10 years and there are more than 750 stores nationwide with total sales estimated at between $350 million and $400 million annually, he says. "The number is continuing to grow," Gluth says.

Habitat for Humanity officials say ReStores are finding success in part because more people are doing home improvement projects themselves to save money, and partly because of a greater concern for the environment.

There’s also the chic factor associated with thrift stores, which have seen a resurgence in popularity among those who enjoy hunting for unique or eccentric items,

Free cupcakes ALERT at grand opening of Extraordinary Cupcakes!

imageFree cupcake alert! Celebrate today, at 2 pm with a ribbon cutting ceremony and free samples at Extraordinary Cupcakes, located at 1220-C Richmond Road in Williamsburg, Virginia

The shop will feature their Extraordinary Cupcake, a crème-filled chocolate cupcake with chocolate frosting, as well as numerous other cupcake flavors, including Marvelous Madagascar, Wicked Chocolate, Curious Coconut, Uncommon Carrot Cake, Remarkable Red Velvet and Amazing Chocolate Twist.

You can find Extraordinary Cupcakes on Facebook.

 

extraordinary cupcakes in WilliamsburgThe new Williamsburg business, Extraordinary Cupcakes, 1220-C Richmond Rd., the area’s first and only cupcakery, was whipped-up by the couple Dyana and Adam Steely in September, but the science and art behind it all goes way back.

Adam, who has 30 years of experience in the restaurant and food service business with Windows on Urbanna Creek, The Frog and The Redneck and, currently Blue Talon Bistro on his professional resume, says he and wife Dyana, a science teacher and lifelong baker inspired by her love of the chemistry and science behind the magic of taste, are thrilled to finally open the doors.

"We love to cook and bake at home," says Adam. "“When we travel we’re always dropping by to visit with chef and restaurateur friends and sampling their foods. Dinner, or lunch in some cases, always ends with something sweet, and cake has always been Dyana’s passion. We believe the memory of great cake stays with you. In fact, when we were growing up—Dyana in the Southwestern part of the state and me near Charlottesville—our mothers made us the exact same homemade birthday cake, and neither of us has forgotten it. So, as we traveled and sampled we made notes, collected ideas and developed recipes in search of the elusive ideal cake.

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Doctors Hospital Topping Off Ceremony in Williamsburg

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Riverside Doctors’ Hospital will be a 2-story, approximately 100,000 square foot facility. The facility will sit on a beautifully landscaped campus at the intersection of Route 199 and Route 60. The campus is over 25 acres and is a component of the 380+ acre multi-use development named Quarterpath. It is scheduled to open in the winter of 2012.

Read more about he hospital here

Read more about the Village at Quarterpath here

Dominion Power Public Meeting in Williamsburg Jan 9, 2012

Tree Huggers Unite !

Did you know that Dominion Power is looking to cut trees down in 150’ wide by 25 mile swath from Charles City County, through Freedom Park, ending in the Skiffes Creek area easy  of Williamsburg ?

Dominion Va Power is planning a transmission line to increase power to the peninsula when they close portions of the Yorktown and Chesapeake power plants.  Long ago they acquired an easement but never cleared or used it, running thru parts of Freedom Park and behind the two new schools.  The application they are putting forth to the State Corporation Commission plans on using this route.  They could use their existing corridor, but would need some additional easements.  If they do use the new one, rather than run the new lines along their existing corridor, it will wipe out about a 200 foot swath of land right thru parts of Freedom Park.

If you are concerned you should make plans to attend a public open house hosted by Dominion Virginia Power.

The meeting on the proposed Chickahominy-Skiffes Creek transmission line will be held Monday, Jan 9th from 5 to 7:30 p.m. at  Warhill High School, 4615 Opportunity Way, Williamsburg, VA 23188

According to Dominion Power electrical demand in the Hampton Roads, VA area is projected to increase by more than 20 percent by summer 2020.
This growth will place a strain on the electrical grid, and create the potential for overloads and violations of North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) reliability standards. Recently announced plans for retirement of local generation facilities* have accelerated the need for new transmission lines to be built and in service by 2014. Dominion is now looking into the potential of developing transmission lines utilizing previously acquired right-of-way easements to build a 500-kilovolt transmission line running about 25 miles through Charles City and James City counties.

Company officials will be available at the public meetings  to discuss the estimated $150 million-$250 million project with the public. The existing un-cleared easements should be large enough to accommodate the proposed line, Dominion Virginia Power said.

The utility intends to file an application in February with the State Corporation Commission for approval to build the line.

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Public open house events will be held in January 2012 at the following locations :

MONDAY, JANUARY 9: 5 p.m.–7:30 p.m.

  • Warhill High School
    4615 Opportunity Way
    Williamsburg, VA 23188 (map/directions)

TUESDAY, JANUARY 10: 5 p.m.–7:30 p.m.

  • Charles City County Social Center
    8320 Ruthville Road
    Providence Forge, VA 23140 (map/directions)

WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 11: 5 p.m.–7:30 p.m.

  • Woodside High School
    13450 Woodside Lane
    Newport News, VA 23608 (map/directions)

Project Details

Route Maps
Project Description
Project Benefits
Project Timeline
SCC Approval Process

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Williamsburg Pottery named Business of the Year by Virginia Asian Chamber of Commerce

The Williamsburg Pottery was named Business of Year on Wednesday night by the Virginia Asian Chamber of Commerce.

Williamsburg Pottery newThe award was presented to Kimberley Maloney, president of the 73-year-old Williamsburg landmark, which is undergoing a $25 million renovation and expansion. A grand opening for the renovated Pottery is scheduled for April 5 on the 100th birthday of the business’ founder, the late James Maloney.

The "new" Williamsburg Pottery will emerge as a sophisticated yet casual environment that combines the charm of a traditional European market with the conveniences and sensory experiences of 21st-century shopping.

  • 1/2 mile of beautiful new buildings along Richmond Road
  • 160,000 square feet of enjoyable shopping
  • 1000’s of unique new items
  • New café, Au Bon Pain bakery and restaurant
  • Outdoor events

Settlers Market Announces New Additions To Stores.

imageAs I reported back on Oct 15th a number of leases have been signed for the Settlers Market.  The new owner of the center, Federal Capital Partners has  announced additional lease agreements to bring four additional anchor tenants to Settlers Market, one of the most prominent planned development sites in Williamsburg and the gateway to the New Town Master Planned Development Corridor.

imageStein Mart, HomeGoods and ULTA recently signed leases to open their doors along the Monticello Avenue corridor, Williamsburg’s now dominant retail hotbed. Stein Mart signed a lease for 30,000 square feet at the north end of the center adjacent to ULTA, which in turn signed for 10,000 square feet. A 25,000-square foot HomeGoods store is planned for the anchor space adjacent to Michaels, which had re-committed to the shopping center program earlier this year.

HomeGoods is an off-price home fashions store, providing a selection of high—quality, unique home fashions, including brand and designer name merchandise at discount price. The stores offer an ever-changing selection of unique items from kitchen essentials, rugs, lighting, bedding, bath to a wide range of furniture and appliances.

imageUlta Salon is a chain of beauty superstores in the United States. Each store is outfitted with a full-service salon as well. Ulta carries a variety of cosmetics and  skincare brands, men’s and women’s fragrances, and hair care products.

These category leaders will anchor the next phase of retail development slated to be completed by fall 2012, with a construction start expected in early 2012. In addition to the new anchors, a lease has been signed with Sleepy’s Mattress for the entire 7,300-square foot retail building fronting Monticello Ave.

Plans are still in the works for the residential component of Settlers Market. According to the developer they are exploring the market to see what would suit the area best. What would you like to see at Settlers Market ? I think an area of one level patio type attached villa / condos  would be perfect. Of course you can’t build as many but a product like that in a walk-able environment, close to everything !

imageWhen fully developed, Settlers Market shopping center will feature 250,000 square feet of well merchandised retail space with  planned residential townhomes located along Settlers Market Boulevard adjacent to the center. FCP and its partner, Westmoreland Partners, are represented in retail leasing by the Norfolk office of The Shopping Center Group.

Read more about New Town here

Site plan for Settlers Market

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psst … I’m a Realtor! Thanks for stopping by my website. I  would love to help you find your dream home and community in the Hampton Roads or Williamsburg area or to sell your existing home.

This post was authored by local resident and REALTOR, John Womeldorf. John is known around town as Mr. Williamsburg, for both his extensive knowledge of Hampton Roads and the historic triangle, and his expertise in the local real estate market. His websites, WilliamsburgsRealEstate.com  and Mr Williamsburg.com were created as a resource for folks who are exploring a move to  Williamsburg, VA , Hampton Roads VA and the  surrounding areas of the Virginia Peninsula.

On his website you can search homes for sale , foreclosures, 55+ active adult communities,   condos and town homes , land and commercial property for sale in Williamsburg, Yorktown, New KentPoquoson, and Gloucester, VA as well as surrounding markets of Carrolton,  Chesapeake,Gloucester, Hampton, Isle of Wight, Portsmouth  Mathews, Newport News Norfolk, Poquoson, Smithfield, , Suffolk, Surry,  Va Beach, Yorktown  and York County Virginia

You can reach John by email John@MrWilliamsburg.com

or phone @  757-254-8136

Mad About Chocolate Opening in Williamsburg

imageComing in early 2012 !

Marcel Deaulniers, author of Death by Chocolate and former chef/owner of the Trellis Restaurant is opening MAD about Chocolate in Williamsburg VA.

Following a two-year rest (which he apparently spent with visions of chocolate spinning in his head) Marcel Desaulniers, award-winning chef and author of “Death by Chocolate,” will open MAD about Chocolate, a chocolate café.

Yay! A chocolate café!

This  chocolate cafe  will serve Marcel’s over-the-top desserts (he originated Death by Chocolate Cake back in 1982 – long before it became part of the vernacular). MAD about Chocolate will also offer cookies, brownies, ice cream and assorted other concoctions, plus sweet and non-sweet versions of cheesecake, bread pudding, pies as well as soups and beverages.

Doors open in late February or early March. Chef promises indulgences galore – brownies, cookies and ice cream as well as sweet and savory versions of pies, cheesecakes, bread puddings, muffins and soups.

Need more temptation?

Everything will be made from scratch using all-natural ingredients in the MAD about Chocolate open kitchen. With only 12 seats, take-out and internet sales will be a large part of the business.

Marcel will operate MAD about Chocolate with his wife, Connie, an artist who has owned a marketing agency for 22 years. The interior will include Connie’s art, and many of the components – such as tables, light fixtures and display counters – will be created by local artisans.

The art-filled café will be located at the Triangle Building, 204 Armistead Ave., a block from Colonial Williamsburg and The College of William and Mary.

In addition to being chef and  co-owner of the Trellis Restaurant in Colonial Williamsburg’s Merchant Square for 30 years Marcel wrote 10 cookbooks (eight about chocolate) and won numerous culinary awards.

Location Map and Directions to Mad About Chocolate

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New Bar to open near W&M

747 Scotland Street in Williamsburg will be home to two new “student friendly” dining options come February, says property owner Demetrios Florakis. Florakis acquired the two lots adjacent to Paul’s Deli in order to develop Brick House Tavern, a restaurant-bar that will stay open until two am, and a national chain restaurant that is to be determined. Florakis is currently in talks with two national chains, but neither has signed a lease for the space yet.

The entire project will be 6300 square feet, including both venues. Brick House will have a mezzanine level with a balcony that overlooks the lower level. Its patio will face Scotland Street.

“The construction will be completed by February, and hopefully Brick House will be able to complete the work they need to do by then too,” said Florakis. He is hoping to open the space to the public as soon as possible.

Florakis would not reveal the two national chains in the running to fill the second space.

Brick House Tavern will be modeled after its Newport News location, operated by Michael Said. Said will bring a menu including specialty pizzas, subs, and burgers to the new Williamsburg location. Brick House will also feature live music, a dance floor, outdoor patio, and a full bar.

Read more here

 

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New Restaurant To Open in Colonial Williamsburg

imageLocal Chef/ Restaurateur David Everett is teaming  up with Colonial Williamsburg to open a new restaurant in the former SunTrust Bank Building on Merchants Square.
Everett, who is the chef/owner of the The Trellis and the Blue Talon Bistro  also located in Merchants Square, is planning a 140-seat casual restaurant  that has yet to be named.

The restaurant will serve casual dishes and beers, some with an English pub theme.

The restaurant will occupy the first floor and lower level of the former bank building at Duke of Gloucester and North Henry streets. The brick building topped by a cupola was built in the 1930s with additions in the 1950s and 1960s. It will be completely renovated, with six offices available for lease on the second floor.

Renovations will start this fall with an opening planned for spring 2012.

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TPMG Medical Center Opens in New Town-Williamsburg

044Tidewater Physicians Multispecialty Group,  TPMG will open in their new location in New Town on Monday July 11,2011.

The new 40,000 square foot medical center  will provide suites for physical therapy, orthopedics, imaging, diagnostic cardiology, a sleep center, a specialty center, pain management, and future specialty medical spaces.

The new TPMG building in New Town will also feature the iSTRIVE fitness center.  They  offer group (boot camp style) classes, private personal training, athlete performance training and senior fitness.  Limited memberships will be available to the fitness center.  The memberships will include an orientation/assessment and trainer guided workout programs personalized for you. Our training focuses on purpose driven, functional exercises with safe progressions to keep our members active and strong for the years to come.

"This project is a reflection of our dedication to providing patients with the highest quality of services," said Jeffrey Moore, MD, TPMG Board Member.

The Design/Build team of Leebcor, Inc. and Guernsey Tingle Architects provided design and construction services for the new office

Thomas Tingle, President of Guernsey Tingle Architects, described the facility as "a building that blends cutting edge medical technology with the rich, traditional character of New Town. It’s exciting to be involved with another medical facility in James City County," says Tingle, "This investment by TPMG is an example of the growing healthcare industry in the greater Williamsburg area."

The new address is 5424 Discovery Park Blvd, Williamsburg VA, 23188

Location Map for TPMG.

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Tidewater Physicians Multispecialty Group, formerly Tidewater Primary Care Physicians, P.C. was formed in 1992. The group began with four primary care medical groups in Newport News and Hampton, Virginia. Today, TPMG includes over 80 family physicians and subspecialty physicians with 25 locations in eastern Virginia. TPMG is one of the largest physician owned and managed medical groups in Virginia.