Melissa Loughridge Savenko 
Member since Sep 17, 2012

Recent Comments

Re: “Update: Seat Donors Respond to Byrd Theatre Decision

Dear Chris:

There is a five year window within which the Foundation can capture the full expense of the building renovations for purposes of tax credits. If the restoration is not completed timely, the tax credit loss well exceeds the potential value of this gift. Additionally, the out-of-pocket expense to the Byrd Theatre Foundatio outweighs the value of this temporary solution. I'd be happy to discuss the expenses with you in detail, if that would be helpful. Please know that this Board has no interest in doing anything other than that which is in the best interest of the theater and the community. We believe that to be a responsible and timely execution of a well-considered restoration plan.

Sincerely,
Melissa Savenko

14 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by Melissa Loughridge Savenko on 05/09/2014 at 2:46 AM

Re: “Update: Seat Donors Respond to Byrd Theatre Decision

I am happy to address any concerns and questions the public might have. There are many inaccuracies or omitted facts in the current reporting. First, the value of the seats to the Byrd Theatre Foundation is not $1.3M, as has been reported. We are not sure where this figure originated or why it continues to be reported. We have correspondence confirming the donative value of the gift to the Foundation is $0. Secondly, accepting the gift would have involved an estimated $81,000-$100,000 in out-of-pocket costs to the Foundation. This estimate does not include the potential cost of regrading the floors in order to install the permanent replacement seats. Additionally, 1928 Limited, Inc., the for-profit theater operating company, was being asked to forgo $100,000 in rental revenue to offset any costs incurred by the French Film Festival in packing and shipping the seats from Cannes. While this may seem an insignificant amount to some, this is a substantial sum to a company that operates on very low margins. Lastly, the Foundation has a restoration plan that contemplates full restoration of the theater by 2017. Incurring the costs of installing the Cannes seats temporarily, for such a short period of time, would delay the restoration time line and ran the risk of endangering significant funds the Foundation anticipates recouping through the state and federal historic tax credit programs.

This was not a decision the Board of the Foundation reached lightly. Ultimately, the Board unanimously determined accepting this gift was cost prohibitive and could endanger our receipt of tax credits.

We understand the public's frustration with the seats at the Byrd Theatre. We hope you will give us the opportunity to share with you our restoration plans. It is our mission to ensure the Byrd Theatre is fully restored to its original glory and available for future generations to enjoy. My email address is melissas@thebtf.org. If I can answer additional questions I will try to do so.

44 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by Melissa Loughridge Savenko on 05/08/2014 at 6:28 PM

Re: “Ballpark or Bust

My favorite laughable line: "Jones will not consider the alternate plan until it provides detailed financials." Joke, right?

22 likes, 8 dislikes
Posted by Melissa Loughridge Savenko on 05/05/2014 at 10:30 PM

Re: “Sally Bell’s Property Sold to VCU

What?!? Another Richmond tradition by the wayside. Major sad face.

3 likes, 6 dislikes
Posted by Melissa Loughridge Savenko on 03/29/2014 at 1:59 AM

Re: “Out of View

Very interesting comparisons to be made between the comments made by Chris Fultz and those made by "developer." Just the most glaring:

1. Chris Fultz used his own name, while "developer" wasn't quite so courageous.

2. Chris Fultz articulated a reasoned, rational position. "Developer" wrote an ad hominem attack full of misspellings, lack of punctuation, without even bothering to capitalize. If this is someone who is adapting historic buildings, with all the care and attention to detail that should require...well, that scares me more than a little.

But "developer" did everyone a favor by laying out there for all the world to read the position many - not all, and I hope not most - developers in RVA take.

Let's call a spade a spade. No one can rationally argue units without external windows and NO natural light are as good or better than units with external windows. Scott Bass's human example featured a young man who lived in a windowless apartment unit without any natural light.

Then Scott took the next step, to ask if apartment units with some form of natural light, but no external windows, are problematic also. The developer Tom Wilkinson and the architect Walter Parks took the position that units with no external windows but other sources of natural light are at least just as good, and perhaps even BETTER, than units with external windows.

Reasonable people can certainly disagree with that position. I know I do. But "developer's" vitriolic and poorly written attack on Chris Fultz as some dreamy architect who doesn't know what he's talking about is misplaced. I don't know Mr. Fultz personally, but he was formerly Director of Design for one of the best architecture firms in town, and it is my understanding that he has significant experience working with developers on multifamily projects. But perhaps those developers he works with take advantage of Mr. Fultz's design talents, aren't in the same camp as "developer," and have figured out a way to design and execute projects that actually have external windows.

My parents insist that you can do well while doing good. I firmly believe that. Good design may not be easy. It is certainly not as easy as pulling out a cookie-cutter set of plans or slamming X units into a space because that is what generates "acceptable" profit margin for a developer. But I agree with Chris Fultz, thoughtful design is better for everyone - the apartment dweller, the neighborhood, and RVA.

Melissa Loughridge Savenko

23 likes, 4 dislikes
Posted by Melissa Loughridge Savenko on 09/17/2012 at 10:20 AM

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