• 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

Lumber Liquidators #1 on Forbes

Lumber Liquidators in Toano , Virginia , the largest specialty retailer of hardwood flooring in the U.S., has been recognized by Forbes Magazine as the LL_logo3 number one best performing company in the magazine’s list of "America’s 200 Best Small Companies Of 2009." This is the first year that the Company has been included in the annual list.

"We are honored to be named the #1 Best Small Company in America by the prestigious Forbes Magazine," said Jeffrey W. Griffiths, President and Chief Executive Officer. "This achievement represents the hard work and dedication of all of our employees who are the foundation of our success. We look forward to continuing to leverage the Lumber Liquidator’s value proposition to drive growth and gain market share within the hardwood flooring industry."

forbes Forbes’ list of 200 Best Small Companies in America is comprised of companies that have shown both sales and earnings growth. Candidates must have annual revenue between $5 million and $750 million, be publicly traded for at least a year, and have a stock price no lower than $5. Rankings are based on earnings growth, sales growth and return on equity in the past 12 months and over five years. Each company’s stock performance was also compared with those of its peers.

The list is featured in the November 2nd issue of Forbes Magazine

More Chinese Drywall Issues in Hampton Roads/ VA Beach

A builder has told homeowners in the Highland Parish neighborhood in VA Beach that it thinks some of their homes may have been built with tainted Chinese-made drywall.

John Ainslie, Ainslie Group president for construction, sent a letter to some homeowners in the Highland Parish  community stating that Chinese produced drywall may have been installed by a subcontractor without the builder’s knowledge. Highland Parish is a community of 81 homes, located in the Southern Kempsville area of Virginia Beach, Virginia. was built by Virginia Beach-based Ainslie Group.

According to Ainslie , The Ainslie Group’s contract with its drywall supplier required the supplier to use U.S. Gypsum drywall or an acceptable substitute.

Knauf chinese drywallThe builder said it planned to inspect homes to determine whether the drywall is present but gave no indication in the letter that the company planned to remediate the homes if the tainted building material is found.

Ainslie who is a  past president of the Tidewater Builders Association,(TBA)  was named to a task force of homebuilders from across the nation to advise government agencies investigating the effects of Chinese-made drywall. The group, will act as a resource for government agencies involved in the investigation and will also advise national legislators on policies and legislation designed to address the problem.

He has been a builder developer in Hampton Roads since 1984, and also serves on the Virginia State Building Codes Technical Review Board, an appointment from Governor Mark Warner.

One Highland Parish homeowner , Greg Woodson, who purchased his home in August 2006 for $595,000  has had numerous electrical appliances fail and has had to replace several air conditioning coils.

Woodson, who lives with his wife and two children in the four-bedroom home, said he hopes Ainslie will offer to fix the home.

 

Signs You Have Chinese Drywall

Just Beyond Sight

Defective Chinese drywall itself has no visible defects, which in turn can make it difficult for consumers to tell by the label whether or not they are to be affected. It’s not until the consumer has moved into their home do they experience the defective signs of the drywall.

Metal Corrosion

The toxic emissions then take over expensive household appliances like air conditioning units’ and their evaporator coils, TV’s, refrigerators, plumbing and gas appliances, electrical outlets, and circuit breakers. Copper pipes and wires are corroded and a black coating is present due to a hazardous chemical reaction caused by the emissions. Other non-safety related symptoms include tarnishing and degrading of other metallic components like pictures frames, light fixtures, silver jewelry and mirrors.

The U.S Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has had multiple organizations propose that sulfur-reducing bacteria may be a source for sulfur emissions from problems drywall.

Affected Locations

Warm and Humid Climates Hit Hardest

In the United States, most complaints concerning Chinese Drywall have come from states in the Southeast, where a warm and humid climate seems to encourage the emissions. The states of Florida (59%), Louisiana (20%), Mississippi (6%) and Alabama (5%) made up 90% of the 3,082 cases reported to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) as of April 2, 2010. More than 700 complaints had been filed with the Florida Department of Health. Sources estimated that from 60,000 to 100,000 homes could be affected.

Number (and Percentage) of Reports by State
chinese drywall williamsburg va

To date, the Consumer Product Safety Commission has received about 3,602 reports from residents in 38 States, the District of Columbia, American Samoa, and Puerto Rico who believe their health symptoms or the corrosion of certain metal components in their homes are related to the presence of drywall produced in China. State and local authorities have also received similar reports.

Consumers largely report that their homes were built in 2006 to 2007, when an unprecedented increase in new construction occurred in part due to the hurricanes of 2004 and 2005. Common features of the reports submitted to the CPSC from homes believed to contain problem drywall have been:

  • Consumers have reported a "rotten egg" smell within their homes.
  • Consumers have reported health concerns such as irritated and itchy eyes and skin, difficulty in breathing, persistent cough, bloody noses, runny noses, recurrent headaches, sinus infection, and asthma attacks.
  • Consumers have reported blackened and corroded metal components in their homes and the frequent replacement of components in air conditioning units.

Chinese Versus American Drywall

Contaminated With Sulfur

Due to the U.S shortage of plasterboard and drywall following the string of hurricane disasters that hit Florida homes, building contractors’ outsourced materials from China help keep up with the construction demands at the time. Prior to the natural disaster, drywall had before been imported from China without defect problems. Investigations by the U.S Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) discovered that the defect in drywall is parallel with sulfuric levels found in Chinese “gypsum” mines, where the material is extracted from beneath the ground. The center of the Chinese mine controversy is located in the LuNeng mine, within the ShanDong province. The gypsum ore and the finished Chinese drywall are both sources of unpleasant sulfur-like odors. American Drywall samples contained similar substances, but generally at much lower levels and certainly did not exude the foul smells.

 

Subject to Rigorous Testing

American Drywall companies’ are commonly located in North America where they use synthetic gypsum material, or gypsum mined in North America, or a combination of both in their manufacturing. Right now, these companies are making considerable efforts to show consumers that they are both aware of the Chinese Drywall lawsuits, and have absolutely no associations with the problem Chinese made drywall. USG Corporation, one of the leading American gypsum companies, further stresses their regular product testing for purity, safety and production standards by company scientists and well as third party laboratories. These tests include chromatography, electron microscopy, spectroscopy and x-ray diffraction testing. American Drywall manufactures like USG Corporation are busy emphasizing the high-quality of their synthetic gypsum products to American consumers.

Millions of Sheets of Chinese Drywall Imported to U.S.

To date, the CPSC has confirmed that 5,503,694 sheets of Chinese Drywall were imported to the United States during 2006 alone. This is not the total of all defective imports as CPSC staffs are continuing to verify more shipments via the Customs and Border Protection databases. Unfortunately the CPSC’s effort in tracking an exact total is difficult, due to the duel use of same commodity code as acoustic or ceiling tiles.

Your Legal Options

If you or someone you know has installed drywall products in their home or commercial property since 2001 and experienced a strong sulfur odor or “rotten egg” smells, you should contact a physician immediately.

If you have suffered a personal injury and/or any property damage, and feel that you may need legal representation in this matter or are interested in more information on Chinese drywall litigation, please contact us, toll-free and an experienced attorney with Seeger Weiss LLP will assist you in evaluating your case concerning Chinese drywall.

Get the help you need

Attorney consultations incur no obligation on your part and all initial consultations are free of charge. Seeger Weiss LLP has office locations in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and California.

Click here to receive a FREE CASE EVALUATION

 

Read about other Chinese Drywall Issues in Hampton Roads and Williamsburg VA here

My Friend In The Digital Age Broke Our Water Main !

I thought I would share an incident that happened to me last Friday. When I went to take a shower I noticed that we had no water pressure. I looked outside to see a bunch of guys digging and installing some type of large wiring underground. Turns out it was Cox Cable “ My friend in the digital age” I asked the foreman if they had ruptured my water line to which he replied “yes”
Did you call JCSA our water supplier ? again he answered yes. I immediately called James City County Service Authority ( JCSA) ,who indicated they had not received any calls for service interruption.  JCSA said they would dispatch someone immediately since we had multiple homes that were without water.

Amazingly a supervisor for JCSA arrived within 8 minutes. (WOW) he assessed the leak and proceeded to find the valve to turn it off. Supposedly the water was pouring out at 1500 gallons a minute.  Sadly it took about 40 minutes to turn it off and stop the water.
Next the heavy equipment, trucks and workers arrived. From the photos below you can get an idea of the work site. They even dropped off a portable toilet !

Thanks to their diligence twelve hours later our water and fifteen of our neighbors water was turned back on.

To my dismay the Cox subcontractors had also severed my cable when they were digging. SO no internet, phone or Cable TV. Ugh. I assumed Cox knew they had an outage since the workers knew they cut the cable. I was wrong. When I called at 4pm to see if they had it back on they said they didn’t know of the outage. The customer service rep said they didn’t have any work going on in my neighborhood and maybe it was Verizon installing wire for their FIOS service. I went and asked the workers again who they worked for to which they replied Cox Cable.  Somehow Cox didn’t know they had work going on in my neighborhood. After begging them to get someone to come out on Friday they did send a service tech who ran a new line to our house and got everything working again. He made comments I won’t repeat in regards to the work crew that caused all the commotion.

I can only fathom how much this mishap is going to cost. No one has determined whose fault it is and who will pay. Miss Utility seemed to mark everything but since the markings are all dug up it could be difficult. I sure hope the cost doesn’t fall on JCSA and its customers ( ME and YOU)  JCSA is investigating it and will report back with it’s findings.

Thanks to all who worked so hard to get our water turned back on.

   

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Have you used Google Street View ? Want to see a Street View of Busch Gardens or Colonial Williamsburg ? Vote now to bring Google Trike to the Burg

From an engineer at Google:

With Street View on Google Maps, you can take a virtual drive over the Golden Gate Bridge or see the bustle of Times Square from the comfort of your own home. But some of the country’s most interesting and fun places aren’t accessible with their Street View car. What if you want to tour the campus of William and Mary ,or scout a new running trail at Lake Matoaka or a mountain bike trail at Freedom Park, or plan the most efficient route to your favorite rides in Busch Gardens ?
I first started thinking about this question around two years ago. My day job is working as a mechanical engineer on the Street View team, but I do a lot of mountain biking in my spare time. One day, while exploring some roads less traveled, I realized that I could combine these two pursuits and build a bicycle-based camera system for Street View. The result? The Street View trike:
I’ve already had a chance to take the Street View trike out to photograph some hard-to-reach places for Google Maps, like the Arastradero Open Preserve and LEGOLAND California. When I’m out riding — and once people understand what exactly I’m up to — I’m often asked if we can come to their alma mater, local bike trail or favorite beach boardwalk.

Google is now giving everyone a chance to tell them exactly where in the U.S. they’d like the trike to go next.
At www.google.com/trike, you can suggest interesting and unique spots in six categories:

So come on Willamsburgers lets vote for our area attractions.

All of CW ,Busch Gardens, Water Country, Freedom, York River, New Quarter Park Mt Bike Trails, The Boardwalk at Virginia Beach.

What would you like to see on Google Street View ?

Place your votes and maybe we can gain some added FREE attention for the Williamsburg or Hampton Roads VA areas.

Nominations will be open until October 28. Google will then comb through all of the suggestions and let all of you cast your final votes on a winner from each category for the Street View trike to visit. For any privately-owned or operated location, like a campus or theme park, we’ll work directly with the relevant organization prior to collecting the imagery.
When we unveiled the Street View trike in the U.K., we received more than 10,000 nominations and 35,000 votes; Stonehenge and Warwick Castle were two of the top vote-getters. We can’t wait to see what you’ll come up with in the U.S. — head to www.google.com/trike to submit your most inspired ideas.

Anheuser Busch InBev sells breweries in Europe

Anheuser-Busch InBev  agreed to sell breweries in nine eastern European countries to CVC Capital Partners on Thursday for an initial $2.23 billion.

ab-inbev The sale is the third by the world’s largest brewer to a private equity company, after KKR’s purchase of South Korea’s Oriental Brewery and Blackstone LP’s  of its U.S. theme parks, made possible by improved capital and equity markets.

AB InBev and CVC said in a statement that the price tag could rise to $3.03 billion depending on CVC’s return on investment, while AB InBev has a first right of refusal  re-acquire the business should CVC decide to sell in the future.

AB InBev has now pushed past the $7 billion goal it had set for divestments to help pay for InBev’s $52 billion takeover of U.S. rival Anheuser-Busch completed last November.

The brewer of Budweiser, Stella Artois and Beck’s has now actually raised a potential $9.5 billion after sales of assets in South Korea, China, Scotland and Ireland as well as packaging and theme park businesses in the United States.

CVC will be acquire the operations of Anheuser-Busch InBev in Bosnia-Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Hungary, Montenegro, Romania, Serbia and Slovakia.

Are you a James City County Resident ? Are you happy Cox Cable ?

Then read on…

JCC LogoAs James City County prepares to negotiate a new cable franchise with Cox Communications, community feedback on customer service, future needs and technical services as provided by Cox Communications is an important part of the process.  The County’s Cable Communications Committee has prepared a survey and scheduled a public meeting to gather input from current subscribers and non-subscribers. All County citizens are encouraged to participate since a franchise agreement can impact economic development, public safety, education and quality of life in the County.   

There are several ways to give feedback:
1.    Complete an on-line survey at www.jccEgov.com/cablesurvey
2.    Pick up a copy of the survey to mail in or drop off at the James City County Library (7770 Croaker Road), the James City/Williamsburg Community Center (5301 Longhill Road), the Satellite Office (3127 Forge Road) or the Human Services Building (5249 Olde Towne Road).
3.    Attend the public input meeting on October 29 at 6:30 p.m. in the Building F Board Room of the Government Complex.

A community needs assessment is one component of the franchise review and  negotiation.  County staff will also examine Cox Communications’ compliance with the existing agreement, financial records, and will review technological, statutory and regulatory changes since the current franchise was adopted in 1995. The franchise ordinance with Cox Communications is a non-exclusive agreement which allows for more than one provider of cable services to negotiate a franchise with the County. 

Results from the survey and public input meeting are expected to be available in January 2010. A new franchise agreement is scheduled to be considered by the Board of Supervisors in May 2010.

For more information about the County’s non-exclusive franchise with Cox Communications, visit www.jccEgov.com/cable  or call 757 886-4006.

Businesses are opening at Quarterpath Crossing Shopping Center

townebank williamsburg vaWachovia bank was first , now its Towne Banks turn.

TowneBank  has opened its third Williamsburg banking center at the new Quarterpath Crossing Shopping Center at the intersection of Route 199 and Quarterpath Road. 
The Kingsmill branch is the company’s 17th banking office.

H.E.A. Living   No. 1 Chinese , Lee Spa Nails  Swan Cleaners  and Kyrie Designs Apparel have all signed leases and should be opening soon,

The Sub sandwich market is expanding in Williamsburg . Subway is opening two stores in the near future. This one at Quarterpath Crossing as well as the recently announced one at High Street . Next to open will be the area’s first Harris Teeter grocery ( now open)  which is slated to open at the beginning of November.

Road development has begun for the adjacent  Quarterpath at Williamsburg mixed use project owned by Riverside Health System. Riverside’ s plans include Williamsburg Doctor’ s Hospital, an age restricted residential community with 300 homes, a 120 bed nursing home with a related 60 units of assisted living, and 97 acres to be developed into residential communities with 95 single family homes, 95 townhouses, and 465 condominium units.

Read more about Quarterpath in Williamsburg here

subway williamsburg quarterpath

harris teeter williamsburg va quarterpath

 

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wachovia Williamsburg va quarterpath

 

twitter-follow-me- 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, www.WilliamsburgsRealEstate.com  and   www.MrWilliamsburg.com, were created as a comprehensive resource about living in Williamsburg and Hampton Roads, with the hopes of selling a house now and again.  You can reach him at 757.254.8136 or John@MrWilliamsburg.com.

Calling all Williamsburg Business Owners

Ever participated in a “Meetup?” Mr Williamsburg and The Liz Moore eTEAM has launched its latest marketing initiative – The Williamsburg-Peninsula Internet Marketing Group!

img_invite11-4 What is it? A group of local business owners who will gather (physically) on a monthly basis to learn, collaborate, share ideas and generally network with a theme of building their online presence.

This will not be your  average networking meet-up. There’s no guise of self-promotion. We’re focused on sharing valuable knowledge among local business owners.

The group will also gather “virtually” at the meetup website, just visit http://www.meetup.com/Williamsburg-Peninsula-Internet-Marketing-Group/  to check us out!

Our first meeting will be Wednesday, November 4th, from 4-5 at the Liz Moore building in Williamsburg ( Across from the Green Leafe) for wine and cheese and our organizational meeting. It’s free, so come and join us – sign up by visiting the link above.

More Chinese Drywall issues in Wellington/ James City County

From an article by Leslie Wayne/ New York Times:

When Bill Morgan, a retired policeman, moved into his newly built dream home in Williamsburg, Va., three years ago, his hopes were quickly dashed.

Bill Morgan blames Chinese drywall for toxic fumes and corrosion in components of his home.

Bill Morgan had to abandon his newly built dream home in Williamsburg, Va., blaming drywall for corrosive fumes that attacked metal objects.

His wife and daughter suffered constant nosebleeds and headaches. A persistent foul odor filled the house. Every piece of metal indoors corroded or turned black.

In short order, Mr. Morgan moved out. The headaches and nosebleeds stopped, but the ensuing financial problems pushed him into personal bankruptcy.

Continue reading

Breaking News Busch Gardens has been sold !

Earlier todaybuschgardensBlackstone Capital Partners V L.P., an investor fund advised by The Blackstone Group, announced that it had reached agreement with Anheuser-Busch InBev to purchase the company’s entertainment park division, Busch Entertainment Corporation (BEC) for $2.7 billion.
The Busch Entertainment Corporation is the second largest entertainment park operator in the United States with approximately 25 million annual visitors. BEC operates 10 Worlds of Discovery – SeaWorld Orlando, SeaWorld San Diego, SeaWorld San Antonio, Busch Gardens Tampa, Busch Gardens Williamsburg, Discovery Cove, Aquatica, Sesame Place, Adventure Island and Water Country USA .

Click for A photo tour of Busch Gardens Williamsburg VA

 
Carlos Brito, Chief Executive Officer of Anheuser-Busch InBev, said: "Busch Entertainment Corporation is a high performing asset with a world-class  management team, but not a core business for Anheuser-Busch InBev. We are pleased to have reached an agreement with a buyer who understands the industry and has a strategic vision for the business."

Buschgardensva Joseph Baratta, senior managing director of Blackstone Group, said "We have deep sector experience and look forward to working with the excellent Busch Enterainment management team to continue to invest in and grow the company.”
Added Michael Chae, another senior managing director at Blackstone: "We are delighted to be investing in a company with such iconic brands, irreplaceable assets and strong growth prospects."
Closing of the sale is subject to regulatory clearance.

Busch Entertainment Corporation President  Jim Atchison indicated that the parks would be operating "business as usual." Atchison and the entire management team has been retained to run the new company, which will continue to go by the name Busch Entertainment Corp. (though he said that they might start using the alternate name "Worlds of Discovery" more going forward).

The Sesame Workshop and Anheuser-Busch brands are among those that will remain in the parks, he said. Busch beer brands will continue to be poured at the parks, and the Busch Gardens name will remain on the parks in Tampa, Fla. and Williamsburg, Va., as they were sold to Blackstone as part of the deal.

cydesdale at Busch GArden One of the more notable changes  will be that the iconic Clydesdale horses will be moved from the parks, and instead go on tour to promote their A-B brands. The  "Here’s to the Heroes" promotion offering free admission to military personnel will continue in the BEC parks for 2010.

No new rides or attractions were announced although it was confirmed that there are numerous  concepts and ideas that are in various stages of development.

Busch Gardens was opened in James City County in 1975. Water Country USA in upper York County was acquired in 1992.
Both York and James City county officials have described the parks as good community partners.
"Clearly they have a significant impact on the county," said York County Administrator James O. McReynolds.
Water Country employs about 700 part-time workers and is considered one of the top employers in the county, McReynolds said. Last fiscal year, the county received $202,000 in real estate and business personal property taxes, including the water park property and land adjacent to Busch Gardens used for parking.
In James City County, Busch Entertainment is second only to the Anheuser-Busch brewery as the county’s top property taxpayers. In the last two fiscal years, the theme park brought in $1.62 million and $1.63 million in property taxes.
The long-rumored sale had also caused angst among local government and tourism officials over whether the buyer would invest in the community as has Anheuser-Busch. The company contributed $2.25 million to the Jamestown 2007 event. It is also a major contributor to the region’s joint marketing program.

No Sale at Ukrops

Supermarket News is reporting that Richmond Va based Ukrops is  in limbo again after the private equity group that entered into exclusive negotiations to purchase the chain dropped out of the bidding.

According to the publication an anonymous source communicated that  some “contractual issues and an inability to get financing” were the primary reasons talks broke down, and that Ukrop’s has since resumed shopping itself to some bidders from earlier rounds.

Ukrop’s has not commented on a potential sale

Blackstone/ Busch Rumors abound

Multiple news organizations are reporting that the Blackstone Group’s possible deal to buy SeaWorld Orlando-owner Busch Entertainment Corp. from Anheuser-Busch InBev is expected to be announced as early as today, according to multiple people familiar with the talks.
The price tag is thought to be between $2.5 billion and $3 billion, these people said. It is possible, though unlikely, that the deal could still fall apart.

Blackstone is expected to operate Busch as a stand-alone investment rather than combine it with another holding, at least for the near future.

If successful this will be the largest private equity buyout announced so far this year and one of the most significant since the credit crunch all but closed down the mergers and acquisitions market to private equity firms.

Analysts had expected Blackstone to combine Busch’s ten venues, including SeaWorld and Busch Gardens, with Merlin Entertainments Group, the operator of Sea Life and Madame Tussauds. However,  it is now understood  that the private equity group intends to keep the Busch and Merlin businesses separate for the foreseeable future.

There has been no comment from representatives for AB InBev and Blackstone.

Are you on Facebook ?

twitter-follow-me- Are you a local business who is looking to increase your business or brand awareness ? Do you know what social media is ? Ever heard of Twitter or Facebook ? Are you using it ?

Brian Solis has compiled these useful stats about the major social networking sites including 30-day traffic, gender, age, income, # of children, and education level. If you’re doing any type of online marketing, you’ll find what he’s done extremely valuable. One thing you’ll notice is that women are the majority users of most sites.

Facebook,  Twitter, Yelp, and other online communities are transforming the  practice of marketing “at” people into an opportunity to engage and interact with them.

If you want to do social media marketing right and not just spam the heck out of people, you must use conversational marketing to engage them. Conversational marketing is all find me on-facebookabout conversing with your community. Learning more about their likes and dislikes, listening before speaking and reacting based upon the customers’ feedback. Just like normal conversations. Do you like to talk to someone who just babbles on and doesn’t let you talk or listen to what you are saying ? The same thing applies in social networks.
Whoever thinks that he will open a Facebook page and reach tens of thousands of site visitors on the first day, is dead wrong. Brands that use social media to promote themselves will see a steady growth in traffic to their sites over time as their brand names become more and more viral within the networks – due to the increase in number of fans, number of tweets, exposure in blogs, etc.

But aren’t  social networks  just a passing fad ? Our age old desire has been one to communicate with others.  Social media is just a current day evolution of that desire. It is a desire that we always had and will always continue to have as long as we are live.   To say that social media is just a fad is to say that communication is just a fad.

Here are a few stats that might help to change the mind of those who are still apprehensive:

1) 2/3 of the global internet population visit social networks and time spent on social networks is growing at 3x the overall internet rate, accounting for ~10% of all internet time.

2) Visiting social sites is now the 4th most popular online activity – ahead of personal email!

3)  56% of Facebook users are aged 35-64. The largest age group of users are 45-54 year olds.

Care to change your mind?

So, how will you use this information to engage more effectively and genuinely?

Comments welcome !

Busch Gardens sale imminent ?

More rumblings of a pending sale of Busch Gardens/ Sea World

busch gardens williamsburg  A media report says the private equity firm Blackstone Group is closing in on a deal to buy Anheuser-Busch InBev’s theme parks such as SeaWorld and Busch Gardens.

The Wall Street Journal reported Friday — citing unnamed sources — that the firm is close to a deal to buy theme parks operated under Busch Entertainment Corp. The report says the deal is valued at between $2.5 billion and $3 billion. Neither  Anheuser-Busch InBev  or Blackstone is commenting on the news.

The sale of the Busch Entertainment unit, which owns the SeaWorld and Busch Gardens parks, has been expected as part of InBev’s plans to pay for its 2008 acquisition of Anheuser-Busch.

It has been rumored  a deal could be reached as early as next week, sources familiar with the situation said on Friday.

Reuters has reported that – Private equity firm CVC Capital Partners has put more equity into its bid for Anheuser-Busch InBev’s ( ABI.BR ) central and eastern European (CEE) assets, two bankers close to the deal said on Friday. CVC has lifted its equity contribution to 60-65 percent of the anticipated 1.4 billion euro purchase price to clinch the sale, which is expected in the next two weeks, the bankers said.
InBev is beyond is more than halfway to its goal of selling $7 billion in assets this year. This week the brewer raised $870 million more by selling U.S. can and lid plants to Ball Corp.and Tennents Lager in Scotland and Ireland.

New Rebate Program Announcement

Governor Timothy M. Kaine today announced the launch of the Virginia Energy Efficiency Appliance Rebate program, a new program to encourage the purchase of high-efficiency appliances and products. The program will use $15 million in funds from the American Recovery and Reinvestment act to provide rebates to residential and commercial consumers on certain qualifying appliances and equipment. Homeowners will be eligible for rebates for 20 percent of the costs of the products, up to $2,000, and commercial consumers will be eligible for 20 percent of their costs up to $4,000. Rebates will be distributed on a first come-first served basis.
Consumers wishing to receive a rebate through the Virginia Energy Efficiency Rebate program will be required to comple te an application form, which will be available online from the Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy. www.dmme.virginia.gov

Residential consumers will be eligible for rebates on air conditioners, heat pumps, furnaces, hot water heaters, washing machines, dishwashers, and refrigerators, as well as for insulation and replacement windows.

Commercial consumers will be eligible to receive rebates on heating and cooling equipment, hot water heaters, window replacements, lighting upgrades, high efficiency motors, compressed air and steam system upgrades, as well as insulation and replacement windows.

Beginning Tuesday, October 6, consumers can sign up for an email alert through the DMME’s website that will tell them when applications for rebates are being accepted.

The Trellis to be sold to Blue Talon owner

The Trellis  After 29 years, 6 million meals and a constellation of honors, The Trellis Restaurant in Colonial Williamsburg has been sold.

The new owner, David Everett, owner of The Blue Talon Bistro , promises to maintain the current staff, seasonal menus and accent on chocolate and decadent desserts that have made the restaurant a destination for epicures.

The Trellis co-owners, Marcel Desaulniers and John Curtis, will turn the restaurant over to Everett at month’s end. In 2004, Everett opened the Blue Talon Bistro, a Colonial Williamsburg eatery that specializes in "serious comfort food." Before that, he was the top chef at Ford’s Colony Country Club.

blutalonwilliamsurg The Trellis will be "in the brilliant hands of a skillful chef and restaurateur," said Desaulniers, who has known Everett since the 1970s when they worked in food service for Colonial Williamsburg.

"He’s got a long history here in Williamsburg, he’s a good marketer, and people know him," Desaulniers said.

The Trellis opened in 1980, amid a recession.

trellis2 "It was a slow climb," Desaulniers recalled, until the 1983 Summit of Industrialized Nations brought world leaders – and national and international press – to the area.

"That’s what seems to really have gotten the ball rolling," Desaulniers said.

In Merchant s Square, the heart of Colonial Williamsburg, the restaurant continued to draw diners from around the world. In 1988, Desaulniers wrote "The Trellis Cookbook " so tourists could attempt to re-create Trellis meals at home.

deathbychocolate Then came "Death by Chocolate," the cookbook that won the James Beard award and catapulted Desaulniers and The Trellis to fame. The namesake seven-layer dessert, at $6.75, remains on the menu.

"It’s really the tail that wagged the dog for so many years," Desaulniers said. "People make pilgrimages to Williamsburg to have Death by Chocolate."

They still can.

When Desaulniers, 64, leaves the restaurant, he’ll turn his attention to Mad About Food, a restaurant consulting firm he will run with his daughter, Danielle Desaulniers, who like her father is a Culinary Institute of America graduate and experienced restaurateur. He doesn’t rule out another cookbook but does rule out retirement.

"Sixty-four is the new 44," he said. "Maybe even 34."

trellis bar John Curtis, Desaulniers’ partner, is owner of the Bookpress bookstore in Williamsburg and recently retired as chairman of the Williamsburg Community Foundation. He will turn his attention to community activities.

Under the ownership of Curtis and Desaulniers, the Trellis has won numerous national and international awards.  Executive Chef Desaulniers, who has written 10 cookbooks, helped put the Trellis on the culinary map with Death by Chocolate and the eponymous TV series on The Learning Channel.  He is also the recipient of a Julia Child Cookbook Award for Desserts to Die For, and James Beard Awards for Best Baking Book (Death by Chocolate), Best Pastry Chef, and Best Chef in the Mid-Atlantic.  Desaulniers was also recognized on Food & Wine Magazine’s Honor Roll of American Chefs.

____________________________________________________

Click for details on how to Get a FREE bottle of wine when you dine at the Trellis  Thru Oct 2, 2009

Kingsmill Resort is officially up for sale

027289A On Monday the residents of  Kingsmill in Williamsburg, VA  learned that Busch Properties, Inc. has hired  commercial real estate broker  (CB Richard Ellis ,CBRE),  to explore options to sell the resort and spa.

Kingsmill Resort and Spa Executive Vice President Robin Carson wrote in an e-mail to Kingsmill Club members that Busch has hired CB Richard Ellis (CBRE), the largest commercial real estate broker in the U.S. The e-mail states CBRE is “a widely recognized leader in global real estate consulting.” CBRE’s Golf & Resort and Hospitality teams have been retained by Busch to provide sales transaction and assessment services, market the property and represent Kingsmill in negotiations, Carson wrote.

The sale includes almost all the resort’s operational assets. The conference center, three championship golf courses and the Bray Links, six restaurants, the spa and fitness center, the marina, 15 owned condominiums and management facilities of the resort property.What it excludes are the two dozen residential neighborhoods that formed the nucleus of greater Williamsburg’s first planned community.

Busch hopes to find a buyer who will enhance the resort’s long-term value and maintain Kingsmill’s assets. A timeline for the sale does not exist, and there is no guarantee a transaction will happen.

The broker CB Richard Ellis (CBRE) already handles dozens of properties in Hampton Roads.  

"We’re completing our underwriting now and should be out in the market within 45 days," said Doug Henkel with CBRE-Norfolk.    

"We’re very excited about this unique opportunity and think that Kingsmill will attract a lot of interest from the investment community," added Jeff Woolson with CBRE-San Diego.   

CBRE is currently marketing the following Golf properties:

The Bay Course at Kapalua Resort
Lahaina, Maui, Hawaii ,Resort Golf Course, Resort Tennis Facility

Big Island Country Club
Kailua-Kona, Hawaii, Semi-Private Golf Club, Developable Land

Blackhawk Golf Club
Austin, Texas, Daily Fee Golf Course

The Golf Club at Castle Hills
Lewisville, Texas, Daily Fee Golf Course

Cathedral Canyon Golf & Tennis Club
Cathedral City, California, Daily Fee Golf Course, (27 Holes)

The Crosby
Rancho Santa Fe, California, Private Country Club, Developable Land

The Golden Bear Club at Keene’s Pointe
Windermere, Florida, Private Country Club

Grizzly Ranch
Portola, California, Semi-Private Golf Club, Developable Land

Hammock Creek Golf Club
Palm City, Florida, Semi-Private Golf Club

Mt. Woodson Golf Club
Ramona, California, Daily Fee Golf Course

Packsaddle Country Club
Kingsland, Texas, Daily Fee Golf Course, Developable Land

A copy of the letter sent to Kingmill Home Owners

September 28, 2009  

Dear Kingsmill Condominium Owner:

I am writing to share information about our long-term plan regarding the Kingsmill Resort & Spa.  Busch Properties, Inc., has hired commercial real estate broker CB Richard Ellis (CBRE) to explore options for a potential sale of the resort.

CBRE is the largest commercial real estate broker in the United States and a widely recognized leader in global real estate consulting.  The combination of their Golf & Resort and Hospitality teams have been retained to provide sales transaction and assessment services, market the property and represent Kingsmill in negotiations with potential buyers. 

As you know, Kingsmill is a world-class resort property renowned for its natural beauty, first-class facilities and unparalleled service.  We know each of you is interested in any transactions involving the property, and Kingsmill is confident CBRE’s expertise is unmatched in the industry in handling properties of this caliber.

We have just begun this process, but our intention is to sell the property if appropriate terms can be met. Our goal in this process is to find a buyer who will enhance long-term value and maintain the Kingsmill assets in accordance with a premier resort property while also recognizing the crucial role our employees play in making this resort so exceptional. 

The decision comes shortly after Michelob ULTRA announced it would not renew the Michelob ULTRA Open in 2010 to bring its LPGA strategy in line with its overall golf strategy.  Each of these decisions was made independently and both were difficult.

There is no set timeline by which a transaction must occur, or if one will be completed at all.  Any transaction will be highly dependent on the specific details about the long-term operation of the property.  We will communicate with you further when we have more definitive information to share.

Sincerely,

Robin Carson

Executive Vice President

Is there anyone who doesn’t know where the new Quarterpath Shopping Center is Located ?

S. L. Nusbaum wants to make sure you realize that the new Quarterpath Shopping center is there. ( Site of the new Harris Teeter)  I don’t know about you but it seems that everyone who passes by sees it. Have you seen it ?

They have applied to the City of Williamsburg for an exception to the sign ordinance which only allows them a thirty two square foot sign. Instead they would like permission for THREE forty eight square foot signs. Is this really necessary ?

This is the same developer who caused previous controversy in clearing the right of way on Rt 199 in front of the Windsormeade Shopping Center

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By the way, it seems everyone was happy with the tree cutting in front of Windsormeade Shopping Center back in March of 2009 except me. VDOT explained that it was done to promote the health of the trees. Somehow the woods behind my house are very healthy even though S.L. Nusbaum hasn’t come through and trimmed them.

It seems ironic to me that the developer ( Nusbaum) was allowed to use a loophole intended for clearing around billboards in rural areas to clear the State owned property in front of a shopping center. The bill, which passed, grants VDOT "the authority to impose on a billboard company requesting approval of a vegetation control permit, the obligation to relocate or replant vegetation according to a landscaping plan approved by VDOT, at the sole cost of the billboard company."

I don’t think clearing in front of a shopping center is  what the law was intended for.

Here are a few photos so you can see the clearing that was done abck in MArch 2009:

Before Picture @ Windsormeade Shopping Center
DSCN0834
After Pictures Windsormeade Shopping Center
DSCN0836

Local Company Makes Inc Magazine Top 500 List and Offers Free Computer Services to Williamsburg, VA

SDV Solutions, a local computer services company located in Toano has rocketed onto Inc. magazine’s list of fastest growing companies this week, placing 27th in the nation. With this ranking, the company joins past elite honorees such as Microsoft, Timberland, Intuit, Oracle and Under Armour .It’s the first year that SDV Solutions, became eligible for the Inc. 500 list. By one metric, the firm is showing a growth rate of 4345.6%. Revenues in 2005 were around $250,000 and have grown to $11.1 million.

The company also placed fifth in the Government Services sector. Mike McMahan and his wife Erin started the company out of their Village at Westminster home by offering computer systems to the federal government.

“We are very pleased to be included in the top 100,” states Mike McMahan, founder and CEO of SDV Solutions, Inc. “SDV has worked hard to give our clients exceptional service and competitive pricing. Doing this well has propelled our growth and landed us on the Inc. list.”
SDV Solutions Inc, a Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business (SDVOSB) has provided information technology solutions to the Federal Government since 2004.  You can read more about them here

SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT TO THE WILLIAMSBURG COMMUNITY:

Federal agencies have trusted SDV Solutions to provide Client-Centric IT Solutions around the globe for over five years. They depend on us for leading technology and competitive pricing, backed by our expert service and support. From the DoD to the FAA, customers choose us for our catalog of over 500,000 products and for our global installation and warranty support.

We are now offering our services to you… our Williamsburg VA community.
To celebrate our five-year anniversary, and the dramatic growth that’s placed us in Inc. Magazine’s “Fastest Growing Companies” list, we’re offering our IT services at no charge.
Thank you,
Mike McMahan
President & Founder

That’s right – free.
Through 2009, our expert service team will repair your computer at no charge.

Residential consumers can drop off one computer item per household at our location.

Businesses receive three service calls at no charge.

Williamsburg Chamber & Tourism Alliance members receive five service calls at no charge.

We believe our world-class service should be available right here in our own hometown. For more information, call or visit our website. We’ll deliver the best value in technology sales and service.

 

757.250.3548   www.sdvsolutions.us    support@sdvsolutions.us
8105 Richmond Road  Suite 204  Toano, VA 23168

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 the historic triangle, and his expertise in the local real estate market.  His websites, www.WilliamsburgsRealEstate.com  and   www.MrWilliamsburg.com, were created as a comprehensive resource about living in Williamsburg, with the hopes of selling a house now and again.  You can reach him at 757.254.8136 or John@MrWilliamsburg.com.

 

Chinese Drywall believed to be used in Williamsburg VA homes.

One of the first cases of Chinese drywall has been confirmed in the Wellington subdivision in James City County VA, according to James City County officials. 

Code Compliance director Doug Murrow indicated that Wellington  homeowners were finding corrosion in electrical devices and a sulfurous, rotten-egg smell, but they had no health complaints. It is the first documented case reported in the Williamsburg/ James City County area of VA.

The Chinese Produced drywall emits sulfur gas, which corrodes nearby metal wiring and tarnishes jewelry, buckles, picture frames and other metal decor. Although Code Compliance responds to complaints and can send samples out for testing, in Wellington the agency is limited in its ability to help residents. The state building code allows inspectors to issue violation notices to builders for problems identified within two years of the certificate of occupancy or the final inspection, with another year available to prosecute. The statute of limitations has run out for Wellington construction, according to county development manager Steven Hicks. In response to the discovery, Hicks said that the county planned to provide information on its website.

The  discoveries of Chinese drywall in Virginia have so far been localized to Tidewater and linked Venture Supply Inc. in Norfolk VA.

to a particular distributor on the Southside. It is believed that fewer than ten homes in Wellington are affected.

The Virginia Department of Health is taking the lead throughout the state. Health officials have said that the corrosion associated with the drywall poses more of an immediate health threat than the fumes themselves. The corrosion can cause leaks in gas pipes, air-conditioning systems and smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, according to an epidemiology fact sheet. The Health Department recommends calling in a building or environmental contractor or home inspector. Then they should call the Consumers Product Safety Commission if a problem is found.

James City’s Code Compliance inspectors recently confirmed another case nearby. Sadly most homeowners insurance won’t cover the damage, as it’s caused by a pollutant or contaminant. Standard builders insurance doesn’t cover faulty or defective materials. . Ashe said this week that he is working with homeowners, but he doesn’t have a ready solution either.

FAQ About Chinese Drywall from VA Dept of Health
 Does Chinese drywall pose health risks? Preliminary data indicates that some Chinese drywall emits gases that contain sulfur and other chemicals. The gases that are emitted can smell like “rotten eggs” and may irritate some individuals. Individuals that feel they may be affected should consult with their family physician. Current data does not suggest any immediate or chronic health problems associated with Chinese drywall. The Virginia Department of Health (VDH) continues to work with other federal, state, and local agencies and to assess data as it is made available. Some of the gases emitted from Chinese drywall can corrode metals, in particular, copper. Corroded metals such as brass fittings, copper coils, and electrical wires may pose an immediate health risk. Leaking gas pipes and air conditioning units may expose you to Freon and natural gas. Corroded electrical wires may affect the normal functioning of smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. If a natural gas leak is suspected you should contact your local gas company immediately.

How do I know if I have Chinese drywall? Most drywall from China will be labeled on the back of the drywall with “made in China,” however, it is possible that drywall from China may not have any markings. It is also possible that a home could contain both drywall made in the U.S. and drywall made in China. Homes considered to potentially be affected by Chinese drywall would have been built after 2003 and meet two or more of the following:
1) The presence of sulfur-like or other unusual odors
2) Drywall labeled “made in China”
3) Observed copper corrosion, indicated by black, sooty coating of un-insulated copper pipe leading to the air conditioning unit
4) Documented failure of air conditioner evaporator coil (located inside the air conditioning unit)  Confirmation by an outside expert or professional of the presence of premature copper corrosion on un-insulated copper wires and/or air conditioner evaporator coils (inside the air conditioning unit)

Who can I contact to inspect my home? If you think that your home has been affected by Chinese drywall you should contact a licensed professional. Plumbers, electricians, building contractors, home inspectors, environmental contractors, heating and air conditioning contractors, and other licensed professionals may be able to assist with evaluating damage to your home.

Will the Health Department sample and test my home? At this time the Virginia Department of Health can not collect air or material samples for analysis. Several homes in Virginia have been inspected by federal agencies. When results are made available they will posted on this website.

How can I treat my home if it is affected by Chinese Drywall? VDH is not aware of any effective treatment method other than complete removal and replacement of the drywall and affected metal. Painting the drywall, or the use of ozone generators have not been proven effective.

If I have a problem, who should I contact for help? You should first start by contacting the builder and then filing a complaint with the Consumers Product Safety Commission (toll-free consumer hotline: 800-638-2772). VDH continues to monitor the evolving Chinese drywall issue and any potential impacts on public health. We encourage you to visit Consumer Product Safety Commission for more information and to check back often for updates and any new developments. If you need further information regarding the health effects of Chinese drywall, please contact the Virginia Department of Health, Division of Environmental Epidemiology, 109 Governor Street, 4th Floor, Richmond, VA 23219, or call (804)-864-8182. Health Care providers FAQ provided by the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry can be found by clicking here. Prepared by: Dwight D. Flammia, Ph.D. Public Health Toxicologist April 1, 2009 Revised: June 18, 2009

A List of Homes in the Wellington Neighborhood built by American- Eastern and Wellington LLC since 2005.

Street Address   Year Built
8409 Camellia 2005
4009 Penzance Place 2005
3986 Bournemouth Bend 2005
3979 Bournemouth Bend 2005
8401 Camelia 2005
4015 Penzance Place 2005
8405 Camellia 2005
8404 Camellia 2005
8405 Camellia 2005
8409 Westberry Ct 2005
3947 Bournemouth Bend 2005
3940 Bournemouth Bend 2005
3943 Guildford 2005
8459 Ashington 2006
8504 Ashington 2006
4095 Dunbarton 2006
4035 Dunbarton 2006
4091 Dunbarton 2006
3978 Bournemouth Bend 2006
8451 Ashington 2005
4063 Dunbarton 2005
8108 Helmsdale 2005
8512 Ashington 2005
250 Loch Haven 2005
8101 Helmsdale 2005
4083 Dunbarton 2006
4020 Dunbarton 2006
4016 Dunbarton 2006
254 Loch Haven 2006
8487 Ashington 2007
4012 Dunbarton 2007

Sales of New Homes Increase

NAHB Press Release – July 27, 2009

The National Association of Home Builders is reporting that sales of new homes rose in June by 11 percent.

Sales of newly built, single-family homes rose 11 percent in June to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 384,000 units, according to U.S. Commerce Department numbers released today. Coming on the heels of an upwardly revised number for May, the gain marks a third consecutive month of improved sales activity.

Today’s report is good news that indicates the nation’s housing market may be in the process of turning the corner,” said Joe Robson, chairman of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) and a home builder from Tulsa, Okla. “That said, the key to moving us out of recession is to get Americans back to work. Congress and the Administration should know that housing can be a significant generator of good jobs. We need to make housing a priority in the recovery process, otherwise we could continue to bounce along a bottom for some time.”

The number of newly built homes on the market declined for a 26th consecutive month in June, falling 4.1 percent to 281,000 units. This marks a relatively thin 8.8-month supply at the current sales pace.

New-home sales rose by double-digits in the Northeast (29.2 percent), Midwest (43.1 percent), and West (22.6 percent) in June. Meanwhile, sales activity declined 5.3 percent in the South, which is the country’s largest housing market.

Is Ukrops Up For Sale ?

 ukropswilliamsburgva During the past week, rumors have been circulating that Ukrop’s Super Markets was considering a deal to sell its 28 stores to another retail-grocery chain. This afternoon, there appears to be some more weight to the rumors as Food World, a Maryland-based grocery-industry publication, reports that Ukrop’s has issued a prospectus, opening itself up to potential buyers.

In  a note released yesterday to employees, Bobby Ukrop wrote that, “There has been a lot of speculation in the last few days about the future of Ukrop’s. All of this is based on rumors, anonymous blog postings, and industry chatter. Anything I say at this point would just add fuel to the fire. For example, I could say that, yes, other companies are interested in buying Ukrop’s. But the truth is that there have always been companies interested in buying us, so there’s nothing new here.” You can read the full note

Over the past decade no area of the Mid-Atlantic region has changed more than the Richmond market. Not only has Kroger entered to become a formidable competitor, Wal-Mart’s 10 area units are all SuperCenters, Food Lion dots the landscape with 52 stores and newer entries such as Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s and The Fresh Market have all added to the overstoring of the Richmond VA area.
Now it appears that Richmond’s oldest and most distinguished retail organization, Ukrop’s Super Markets, may be looking to sell its 28 stores. Officially, the company hasn’t addressed these reports specifically, noting that it stores don’t comment on rumors, but multiple industry sources have confirmed  that a prospectus has been issued detailing vital Ukrop’s store data and seeking interest in a potential sale. Those retailers who have reportedly responded to the prospectus include Supervalu (Ukrop’s principal supplier), Ahold and Harris Teeter . Several sources believed that Harris Teeter remains the frontrunner and that Supervalu (which currently has many issues on its plate) has dropped out the potential acquisition process.
Of course, there is no guarantee that any bidder would pay the premium price that acquiring Ukrop’s would likely demand. And even if that price were met, it wouldn’t be surprising to see the deal be pulled by the Ukrop family which has a deep emotional attachment to the community and to the company itself. But then again no one thought Anheuser Busch would sell out either.

While newer competition may have been able to match Ukrop’s beautiful stores and perishables-driven format, a key differential which has also adversely impacted the company is its policy of not opening on Sundays, now the busiest shopping day of the week. Ukrop’s also does not sell beer or wine at its stores. Additionally, two of Ukrop’s newer stores outside the core Richmond market – One in Roanoke and its second unit in Williamsburg – have struggled.

Ukrop’s now has only one store in greater Williamsburg, at Monticello Marketplace. A second store on Mooretown Road near Home Depot closed in January for lack of customers.

harris tetter williamsburg quarterpathThe company may determine that now is the optimal time cash in. New entrants to the Richmond and Williamsburg grocery scene, like Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods and Fresh Market are taking some of the high end shoppers. Meanwhile  Kroger, Food Lion and Wal-Mart are siphoning off some of the low-end customers. Ukrop’s will soon have to battle Harris Teeter here in Williamsburg, where Harris Teeter will be opening a new store in November near Kingsmill . There is another Harris Teeter in Charlottesville and more in Northern Virginia. .

Fords Colony in Default

From an article in the Rocky Mount Telegram  by  John Henderson

fordscolonyrockymountnc Undeveloped lots in the Ford’s Colony community in Rocky Mount, North Carolina are slated to be sold to the highest bidder next month at the Nash County, NC Courthouse as part of a foreclosure sale.

According to a legal notice published in the Rock Mount Telegram this week, developer Ford’s Colony Rocky Mount LLC has gone into default on a loan taken out in June 2008 for $7.2 million.

But the developer is working with BB&T bank, which is owed the money for a loan it made for water, sewer and roads, to avoid the sale, said Drew Mulhare, vice president of Realtec Inc., the managing partner for developer Ford’s Colony LLC.

The lots were used as collateral for the infrastructure loan, Mulhare said. He said a bond required by the city ensures that work will be finished.

The company will continue to develop the 1,400-acre master-planned community, which is slated to have 1,000 home sites, Mulhare said.

About 20 to 30 lots in phases 3 and 4 of the project are slated to be sold in the foreclosure sale. So far, between 200 and 225 lots have been sold.

Among the phases slated to be sold is Phase 3 of the community, which, according to property records, is located a few hundred yards north-northwest of the community’s tennis courts and clubhouse.

Other lots being sold are in Phase 4 of the community along Cummings Road. Mulhare said a court ruling that prohibited that community from closing the road to public traffic had hurt lot sales along that road.

“When we were opening Phase 4, the real estate crunch hit, and the Cummings Road crunch hit, and we were pretty much stalemated at that point,” he said.

He said they have every intention of developing out the remaining 800 lots in the community.

“We love Rocky Mount,” he said. “It has been very good to us. We’ve tried to stay in touch with the city and county government, and we all want the best for Ford’s Colony. What’s good for Ford’s Colony is good for Rocky Mount.”

The legal ad states that the property will be sold at public auction to the highest bidder at the Nash County, NC. Courthouse at 10 a.m. June 8, 2009.

The community’s golf course and clubhouse are not part of the sale.

And lots with homes on them are not part of the sale, according to Kitty Hawk attorney Daniel D. Khoury, who is the trustee in the sale.

“It would be fair to say (the sale) involves unimproved lots,” he said. “We’re not foreclosing on any homes.”

Homes in the gated, master-planned community cost between $300,000 and $750,000.

The 1,400-acre community is being developed by the Ford family, who created Ford’s Colony at Williamsburg in 1985.

Development began at the Rocky Mount community in summer 2004.

You can view the Foreclosure Sale notice here :  http://classifieds.rockymounttelegram.com/classifieds-bin/classifieds?tp=RockyMount&property=rockymount&classification=announcements&ad_id=188700187&temp_type=detail

You can read the full Story here :http://www.rockymounttelegram.com/news/fords-colony-forced-to-sell-off-some-undeveloped-lots-634050.html

Free Workshop on Leading Through Challenging Economic Times, Friday, May 8

WHEN :Friday, May 8, 2009

– Where:  Kingsmill Resort and Spa in Williamsburg, VA

Time 9 a.m. to noon

This free workshop focuses on helping business owners lead through challenging times.

Featured speakers and their topics will include:

  • Dr. Ann Battle Macheras, Vice President, Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond. Dr. Macheras oversees a professional staff engaged in research and analysis of regional economic conditions. Dr. Macheras supports regional outreach efforts to share economic analyses and insights across the Fifth Federal Reserve District, which includes North and South Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland, and the District of Columbia. In her presentation, she will provide data on economic trends facing the region and the state.
  • Peter Cook, renowned journalist and host of Bloomberg TV’s "Money & Politics." Cook will provide information on the state of economy from a national perspective; he will also provide feedback on the political environment and national legislation that may affect the business community

In addition to these two distinguished speakers, there will also be a moderated panel of regional business executives, influential leaders and an executive coach who will provide insight and expert commentary on building trust and leading through challenging times. They will provide helpful information to business owners in the Hampton Roads region to ensure area companies not only weather the current economic storm — but thrive as well.

This forum is presented by Cox Communications who is excited to present it again this year. Through this executive series Cox is furthering their commitment to be the most Trusted Provider of communications and entertainment in America.

For more information contact Felicia Blow at (757) 222-8432 or via Felicia.Blow@cox.com.

Info on Ann Battle Macheras

The Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond hired Ann Battle Macheras as vice president of the regional division of the Research Department, which is based in Richmond. As of Feb. 17, 2009, Macheras will oversee a professional staff engaged in research and analysis of regional economic conditions, advise Bank leaders in this area and support regional outreach efforts.    

“I feel very fortunate to join a team that I know to be exceptionally dedicated and talented,” said Macheras, former senior economist at the Virginia Economic Development Partnership. “I look forward to the challenges and new opportunities at the Fed.”

Director of Research John Weinberg said the position is important to the Bank’s strength in recognizing regional economic trends, as well as influencing public understanding of the Bank’s work on behalf of America’s economy. “The vice president for our regional economics unit provides leadership to our efforts both to learn about the economy in our region and to share our economic analyses and insights across the Fifth Federal Reserve District,” Weinberg explained. “Ann’s experience and accomplishments as a regional economist make her well suited to play this role.”

In addition to working for the Commonwealth of Virginia, Macheras previously worked in the private sector for Chmura Economics & Analytics and SunTrust Bank. Through the years she has remained active in the Virginia Association of Economists and the Richmond Association for Business Economists.

A graduate of Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., Macheras earned her doctorate from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Attend a FREE Business Workshop in Williamsburg VA

Entrepreneur Express: Moving Your Business Forward is Virginia’s showcase program for helping new and early stage businesses. Pilot tested in Southwest Virginia in late 2006, these half-day workshops proved so popular and effective that they were taken statewide in mid-2007. Over 4,000 entrepreneurs have been trained. Entrepreneur Express brings straight talk and local resources to one convenient place so that entrepreneurs can find the information and assistance they need.

 These workshops are designed to provide news business startups and existing small businesses information on available business resources and deliver practical, hands-on training covering key elements of business practice. Workshop segments will include information on how to start and operate a business, growing an existing business, marketing strategies, financing and available resources.
A program flier and question and answer guide are available for download.

Entrepreneur Express is partnership between VDBA and many local, state, and Federal resources providers, including Virginia’s Small Business Development Centers, Virginia’s Community College System, Virginia Cooperative Extension, Virginia Tourism Corporation, SCORE, City and County Economic Development offices, and Chambers of Commerce.

Click here to download the  Entrepreneur Express Guide to Starting and Growing a Business in Virginia

Read Testimonials Here

March 11, 2009
9:00 AM to 12:30 PM

James City/Williamsburg Community Center
5301 Longhill Rd, Williamsburg VA, 23188

Please note advance registration is required to attend.

Register here

Learn more here

High Street Williamsburg VA Store Openings

 
temps ford 002_editedThe first business to open at High Street was Five Guys Burgers and Fries on March 16, 2009 .

The Movie Tavern, which will show first-run movies and offer in-theater dining, opened  March 27.  Read more about Movie Tavern here

I first experienced Five Guys in the Washington DC area many years ago and anxiously await it’s opening.   If you like big, fat, juicy hamburgers then this is your kind of place..

temps ford 003_edited The Arlington, Va., chain has over 300 restaurant locations in the U.S.
The beauty of Five Guys is its simplicity. Choices are limited to burgers, hot dogs, grilled cheese or a veggie special (basically all the toppings with melted cheese on a bun) plus amazing french fries.

Read more about Five Guys Burgers and Fries here

This will be Five Guys  first store on the Peninsula, and the High Street development’s first retail tenant to open.

mlssearch Last summer, High Street began to take shape when construction started on portions of its residential area, which included its 191 apartment units ( Sterling Manor) and 16 town homes. The apartments and town houses were completed last fall while the 225,000-square-foot retail side was still under construction.

In spite of the economic obstacles in place for hopeful businesses, there are promising signs pointing to a High Street that will be bustling with activity in future months as Plaza Azteca, a Mexican restaurant, is adding the finishing touches to its establishment and construction on a chocolate and desert shop, Kilwins, is coming along well.

PlazaAztecaWilliamsburg “There are  five businesses under construction at this time  at High Street— three of which are scheduled to open in the next few weeks.

The Williamsburg Trolley has also helped business since it began running in mid-August. The trolley, which includes High Street as one of its stops, has exposed students to the High Street area while they are on their way to other destinations like New Town or Merchants Square. It has also made it more convenient for students to go on weekend excursions to Movie Tavern or Five Guys.

124822_6 There are ongoing talks between the developer and several grocery stores about locating at High Street. Talks are also underway to bring a  a gym, a bookstore, dry cleaners, nail salons and several soft goods retailers to the development..

Although the economic climate is unsure, one thing is certain: slowly but surely, the High Street development is coming together.

Confirmed businesses that are opening at High Street include Kilwins, Terra Coffee & Wine, Plaza Azteca, Firehouse Subs and Subway.

 

 

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Location Map  of High Street in Williamsburg, Virginia

Map picture

Williamsburg VA-Restaurant Week Jan 25-Feb 1,2009

Williamsburg VA Restaurant Week featuring some of the best  in town Sun, Jan 25, 2009 until Sun, Feb 1, 2009

The Williamsburg Area Restaurant Association presents the 3rd Annual Williamsburg Restaurant Week. Celebrate the New Year and off season by dining at a selection of more than twenty restaurants offering dining at a fraction of the price. Two-course prix fixe lunch menus are $10.09 and three-course prix fixe dinner menus are $20.09 or $30.09. Tax, alcohol and gratuity not included. Reservations suggested for dinner.

More information visit: http://www.williamsburgarearestaurants.com

2009. 
Enjoy Williamsburg’s finest dining at a fraction of the price…
Select from two course prix fixe lunch menus for $10.09
and three course prix fixe dinner menus for $20.09 or $30.09

Here is a list of participating restaurants in the Williamsburg VA Area

    415 Grill at the Williamsburg Hospitality House * L/D $20.09
    Backfin Seafood Restaurant * D $20.09
    Berret’s Seafood Restaurant * L/D $20.09
    Black Angus Grille * D $20.09
    Blue Talon Bistro * L/D $20.09
    Buon Amici * L/D $20.09
    Capitol Pancake House * L
    Cities Grille * D $20.09
    Dudley’s Farmhouse Grille * L/D $30.09
    Gaberial Archer Tavern * L/D $20.09
       (at the Williamsburg Winery)
    Giuseppe’s Italian Café * L/D $20.09
    LeYaca * D $30.09
    The Magnolia Dining Room * L/D $20.09
       (at Colonial Heritage)
    Opus 9 Steakhouse * L/D $30.09
    Outback Steakhouse * D $20.09
    Riverwalk Restaurant * L/D $20.09
    Shackleford’s II Restaurant & Raw Bar * D $20.09
    Spectator’s Family Sports Pub * L/D $20.09
    The Trellis * D $30.09
    *Beverage*Alcohol*Tax*Gratuity not included
    *Reservations suggested
    *May not be combined with any other promotions or discounts.

Explore the menu’s here

.

Email:
info@williamsburgarearestaurants.com

Ideas to stoke tourism in Williamsburg VA

Colonial Williamsburg

Colonial Williamsburg

 

I work with someone who’s husband has been employed as a gunsmith by Colonial Williamsburg for twenty years. His position has now been eliminated along with hundreds of other jobs. I realize that budget cuts are necessary but maybe there are some other thing that can be done to ensure that Rockefeller’s vision is maintained in how Colonial Williamsburg is run.

This Essay which appeared in the VA Gazette was written by  Ivor Noel Hume who retired as chief archaeologist for Colonial Williamsburg. It seems to bring a lot of ideas forward that need to be researched.

 

Negative publicity cannot be anything but damaging and serves only to make bad situations worse. In spite of it, we must never forget that restored Williamsburg is a national treasure and stands on a solid foundation laid down with Rockefeller money and by the love and toil of generations of dedicated personnel. A jewel in America’s cultural crown, Colonial Williamsburg deserves better than to be gauged only against the yardstick of tickets sold and customers counted.

The late DeWitt Wallace used to send down employees of Reader’s Digest to recharge their patriotic batteries” and to make them feel good about themselves and their heritage. Those of us who were privileged to work here had the luxury of that sensation every day of the week.

By modern standards salaries for many of us were not great, but from doormen at the Inn to draftsmen and archaeologists the satisfaction of contributing to something wonderful was beyond price.

So what went wrong?

Management’s vision became too broad and its monetary goals too high. Resting on our laurels was not an option. We had to do more to bring in more, and like the sorcerer’s apprentice the wave of progress carried all before it. The more we did the more people were needed to do it, and the greater became the need for tourist dollars to support it.

The public’s image of Colonial Williamsburg is governed by those whose job it is to promote it. Selling it primarily as a “tourist attraction” sends a message of probably pricey fun, and coupling it with Busch Gardens and Water Country confirms it. constructing a health spa and a high-end medical evaluation center say loudly, “This is not your father’s Williamsburg.”

A generation ago a young vice president told us that he saw restored Williamsburg as a theatrical backdrop against which we could teach anything we liked. The street theater provided by the new “Revolutionary City” program buys into the “only a backdrop” philosophy, shifting the focus away from the place to the play. One ex-employee jokingly likened it to a white wigs and knee britches version of a Wild West shootout at the OK Corral.

“The Story of a Patriot” movie, antique though it be, has done a good job preparing visitors for the coming Revolution, while leaving them free to enjoy the place where it all began –– in colonial Williamsburg. One might argue, therefore, that as Duke of Gloucester Street is a modern avenue with modern trees, lampposts, fireplugs and paved road surface, using it as stage for microphoneaided, in-your-face interpretations of Revolutionary history draws attention away from the story of life in the colony as it evolved through the 18th century.

The beauty and dignity of Colonial Williamsburg were the assets that made the State Department use it as its introduction to America for arriving foreign leaders.

Those of us who have lived through the years of change may be forgiven for voicing our own views of how Colonial Williamsburg can best face the future. To that end, I venture the following:

Put virtually all the eggs in the Historic Area basket and see the restored town not as a backdrop, but as a three-dimensional historical entity and an aesthetically satisfying visual experience. Make sure that every employee understands the parameters of the mission.

Recognize that Duke of Gloucester is a modern thoroughfare and treat the doors of the exhibition buildings as our gateway to the past. Let the rooms be the actors’ sets and stages.

Shed responsibility for the hotels and their maintenance by leasing them to a respected chain.

Limit restaurants to the history-promoting taverns.

Cease trying to sell both history and high-end health. They are incompatible.

 

Return to seeing Craft House as an extension of the educational mission and not simply a “sell what sells” department store. Issue sales catalogs that reflect the historical link instead of every other museum catalog.

When sending out e-mail spam, stress the historical mission and not resort-promoting sales pitches.

Recognize that in the public’s mind restored Williamsburg means the existing Historic Area. Adding more buildings or programs is unlikely to influence tourism one way or the other. Similarly, unless one is adding a jewel-studded Faberge elephant, buying more antiques for the Wallace Gallery museums will not appreciably enhance the number of paying visitors.

Restoring the gardens to their 1950s beauty (ignoring their lack of authenticity) can promote repeat visitation.

Settle for a budget commensurate with a paying visitation level of 750,000, and staff accordingly.

Consider the staff to be more valuable than the antiques or buildings. A frightened, disgruntled, underpaid or under-appreciated employee cannot be a happy camper. Disenchantment quickly spreads to colleagues and equally quickly to the visitors.

Tourists should be unaware that they are absorbing history. At its best, teaching is not preaching. Visitors are here, one hopes, to gently recharge their patriotic batteries and should be encouraged to periodically do so.

Beancounters may argue that most of these suggestions are money-losers and therefore impractical. But, as at the start-up of any new business, there has to be a teething (money-losing) period wherein the managers and scholars determine what works and what does not. I suggest that returning to history-rooted fundamentals can provide an exciting future and a chance to rekindle and fan the flame that once burned so brightly. But if in time it does not prosper, then the writing on the wall reads, “Forget history and settle for a massage.”

 

 This update brought to you by Mr Williamsburg a local Realtor who blogs about living in Williamsburg and beyond…

 

Mr Williamsburg.com " Williamsburg VA. Real Estate

Anheuser Busch Execs reap almost $1 Billion in sale to Inbev

 

When Belgian brewer InBev completed its $52 billion purchase of Anheuser-Busch by paying $70 a share to stockholders there were quite a few executives who reaped huge rewards.

The takeover marked the end of the line for many senior Anheuser-Busch executives and all but one of its directors. But all walked away with big payouts for their company stock.

A group of 17 top executives received more than $1 billion for their shares, and the brewery’s 12 directors other than Chief Executive August Busch IV surrendered their posts Nov. 18 with a combined $23 million in hand.

Director and former chief executive August Busch III led the payday, collecting $427.3 million for his 1.3 percent stake in the company. About half of that amount comes from stock he controlled directly and through stock options, while the other half he controlled indirectly as the beneficiary of a couple of family trusts, through a charitable trust and through his wife, Virginia.

Busch III, 70, has been a member of the board since 1963 and served as chairman from 1977 until his retirement Nov. 30, 2006. He ran the business as CEO from 1975 to 2002 before handing the reins to Patrick Stokes.

Stokes, the company’s chairman, walked away with $160.9 million. About $10.7 million of that is controlled through a family limited partnership and a trust. Stokes, 65, spent his career with Anheuser-Busch and rose through the ranks to become the president and CEO of the company from 2002 until his retirement on Nov. 30, 2006. During Anheuser-Busch’s 156-year run as an independent company, Stokes was the only person outside the Busch family to hold the top post.

CEO August Busch IV collected nearly $91.4 million through the InBev buyout. The Fourth, as he is called, grew up in the beer business like his father, Busch III. He began working full time for the brewery after graduating from Saint Louis University in 1987. He held jobs in packaging, shipping and brewing and eventually earned his brewmaster’s degree from Versuchs und Lehranstalt für Brauerei, an international brewing academy in Berlin, Germany.

Busch IV, 43, made his mark as vice president of marketing during the late 1990s and early 2000s before rising to president of the brewery in 2002 and ultimately CEO of parent company Anheuser-Busch Cos. Inc. in December 2006.

Keith Kasen, chairman and CEO of theme park subsidiary Busch Entertainment Corp., made $16.2 million. He oversaw the subsidiary’s headquarters relocation to Orlando, Fla., earlier this year and ran the company’s nine SeaWorld, Busch Gardens, Discovery Cove, Sesame Place, Adventure Island, Water Country USA and Aquatica theme parks.

Michael Harding, president and CEO of Anheuser-Busch Packaging Group Inc., reaped $13.4 million.

Francine Katz, vice president of communications and consumer affairs, received $12.5 million. She has worked at Anheuser-Busch for two decades, leads a staff of 80 in corporate and public relations, and serves as the company’s lead spokeswoman. She was named one of the Business Journal’s Most Influential Business Women this year.

 

 Mr Williamsburg.com " Williamsburg VA. Real Estate

 This update brought to you by Mr Williamsburg.com

John@MrWilliamsburg.com

InBev deal with Anheuser Busch has closed

Associated Press
© November 18, 2008

By AOIFE WHITE 

BRUSSELS, Belgium 

InBev SA on Tuesday formed the world’s largest brewer when it closed its $52 billion takeover of Anheuser-Busch Cos.

The new company, named Anheuser-Busch InBev, will be headed by InBev CEO Carlos Brito and will be headquartered at Leuven, Belgium.

InBev promises to keep Anheuser-Busch’s St. Louis base as the company’s North American headquarters. Anheuser-Busch President and CEO August A. Busch IV joins the new company’s board as a non-executive director.

The deal gives InBev a jewel of a brand in Budweiser – the world’s top selling beer – which it promises to sell more widely by pushing into emerging economies in Asia, Latin America and eastern Europe.

This will help generate growth as beer sales decline in North America and Europe where drinkers are cutting back and turning to wine and other drinks.

Brito said the combination had created “a stronger, more competitive global company with a leading international brand portfolio and distribution network, and great potential for growth all over the world.”

InBev said it now had all the regulatory clearances it needed for the deal. Last week it agreed to sell Labatts USA to win U.S. Department of Justice approval for the takeover.

U.S. antitrust officials had worried that beer prices would increase in upstate New York because the two companies would supply most of the beer in the region.

InBev did not say who would buy the U.S. unit. It will keep its Canadian subsidiary Labatts, which is one of the top beer brands in the country.

Anheuser-Busch provides half of America’s beer but it has not managed to expand around the world as fast as InBev – a Belgian-Brazilian hybrid that owns hundreds of local brands but few real stars.

Anheuser-Busch owns several properties in Virginia in the Williamsburg area. In addition to a brewery in Williamsburg, the company’s subsidiaries own the Busch Gardens theme park, the Kingsmill Resort and Spa, and the Water Country USA water park.

InBev has borrowed $45 billion to pay for the deal and secured $9.8 billion in equity bridge financing that it had planned to replace with a share issue in October.

But rocky financial markets forced it to postpone issuing new shares and it says it can keep the bridge financing in place for up to six months after it closes the deal.

Carlos Brito, Chief Executive of the newly combined global brewer Anheuser-Busch InBev, talks about the completion of the deal, the significance of today’s announcement and next steps.

Mr Brito also underscores the rationale of deal in spite of today’s current economic climate and highlights the new company’s strategic and brand priorities to secure its ambition of becoming “the best beer company in a better world”.
 
Talking frankly of the challenges to come, he said the business would have to work harder but added that its beer business was lean and resilient and that it had the talent and skills base to see them through tough times.
 
He said that the company and its board were working hard on both possible asset sales and its prospective rights issue.
“The equity issuance is something that the Board will decide on the best time to do it; we have a bridge of six months after closing to get it done. And for the disposals of $7bn we have a bridge of up to 12 months after closing.”
The interview and transcript are available now on http://w3.cantos.com/inbev.