John Bonbright 
Member since Jan 30, 2013


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Re: “Inward and Upward

Mr. O'Keefe - Interesting comment, although your statement that "things are either bad or good" is certainly questionable.

I am, quite frankly, surprised to hear that my decision to purchase a beautifully designed, well constructed, environmentally friendly "Energy Star qualified," "Earth Craft" Eagle town home in a unique and innovative community in the lively Short Pump area reflects adversely on my morals. Who would have thought?

Please let the readers of this thread know where YOU live so that they can make the morally correct (by YOUR standards) buying decision next time. I am sure the over 600 of us who have purchased town homes in WBV will appreciate your moral compass and "instincts developed over a lifetime of bias."

8 likes, 8 dislikes
Posted by John Bonbright on 02/04/2013 at 11:27 AM

Re: “Inward and Upward

Stuart - you make some good points. Vauban in Germany sounds like a model that might be worth looking into, but that commute would be a bear for us here in Richmond, and I am not aware of any such develoments in the Richmond area - or in VA for that matter. So, I guess WBV will have to do.

Not sure what you meant by the "yawning garage doors." All of the garage doors in WBV town homes are accessible only from the rear alleys.

Everything I have read reiterates that Americans are not willing to give up their automobiles Having lived in Europe for a number of years, I think it is safe to say that the same applies "across the pond." So, until the auto-oriented mindset changes, the WBV concept is perhaps the best approach to "new urbanism" hereabouts.

9 likes, 5 dislikes
Posted by John Bonbright on 02/02/2013 at 6:23 PM

Re: “Inward and Upward

I respectfully refer the critics of WBV to the organizing body for New Urbanism, the Congress for the New Urbanism founded in 1993. Its foundational text is the Charter of the New Urbanism, which says:
"We advocate the restructuring of public policy and development practices to support the following principles: neighborhoods should be diverse in use and population; communities should be designed for the pedestrian and transit as well as the car; cities and towns should be shaped by physically defined and universally accessible public spaces and community institutions; urban places should be framed by architecture and landscape design that celebrate local history, climate, ecology, and building practice."

WBV IS "diverse in use and population." The community IS "designed for the pedestrian and transit as well as the car." WBV IS "shaped by physically defined and universally accessible public spaces and community institutions," and, WBV IS " framed by architecture (The "faux" townhomes were, in fact, designed to resemble the architecture of Monument Avenue) and landscape design that celebrate local history, climate, ecology, and building practice."

The convenience of nearby shopping (Short Pump, etc.) should be viewed as a positive, and it is by the residents. It nearly eliminates the need that many of the residents in the Richmond suburbs have of traveling considerable distances to do their shopping, dine out, see a movie, do their banking, go to an exercise facility, etc.

As indicated by the facts that the Eagle townhomes are nearly sold out and the apartments are 100% occupied, buyers and renters have chosen to overlook the objections of the architectural purists and instead opt for the convenient and carefree lifestyle of WBV. I have no doubt that the success of WBV will be the basis for similar developments not only in the Richmond area but nationally.

11 likes, 6 dislikes
Posted by John Bonbright on 02/02/2013 at 9:28 AM

Re: “Inward and Upward

Kevin - Once again you speak without the facts when you state "I'm glad Eagle was able to bilk retirees out of another half mil before they hit the dirt." Check the financials - Eagle is in a very strong cash position and is the number one buidler in the Richmond area. That is because they offer a quality product demanded by educated consumers.

Yes, the apartments DO have refrigerators and NO, I do not eat mail order steaks. How childish.

Interesting to see that you live in Manhattan. Just visited there. You have my smypathies!

18 likes, 9 dislikes
Posted by John Bonbright on 01/31/2013 at 6:42 PM

Re: “Inward and Upward

Kevin - I'm not sure where to start! Yes, the architecture in the Fan is magnificent, but many have concerns, valid or not, about the traffic, noise, crime, lack of parking, the cost, etc. The use of the term "Brownstone" by the developer is a marketing tool and certainly not intended to imply that the product is the same as those in Brooklyn, the Fan, etc.

Just to correct you on a minor point - none of the "Brownstones" use "vinyl siding." If you had bothered to verify your facts, you would have found that Hardiplank is used - a more expensive and durable cement-based product. Not that you approve of that either, I would guess.

You state that "There is a store in this neighborhood where you can buy flash frozen mail-order beef and heat-and-serve baked potatoes. Does that sound like something that appeals to people with good taste?" Did you consider that WBV also has 324+ apartments, and that some of these stores sell products that appeal to the apartment-dweller lifestyle? You also conveniently left out a number of businesses that perhaps even you might consider "good taste," such as Whole Foods, the Children's Museum, the new ACAC fitness center, Bonefish Grill, etc. Wells Fargo, etc.

There are many of us in the "Brownstones" who are business owners and professionals, educators, artists, retired (including military like myself), etc. Just because your preferences in lifestyle and design differs from those of us who have purchased a "Brownstone" gives you no right to state "people who buy in Short Pump have no taste." In fact, I would say that such a statement is, in itself, poor taste. The fact that our preferences for our homes differs from yours does not, I assure you, indicate a lack of taste on our part. I would also hope that we would never display such bad manners as you have in making such an insulting and unsubstantiated statement.

21 likes, 11 dislikes
Posted by John Bonbright on 01/31/2013 at 4:26 PM

Re: “Inward and Upward

Certainly agree with Kevin that West Broad is difficult to cross. Hopefully something will be done about that, although I'm not holding my breath.

In regard to his statement that the design is awful, I would ask why almost all of the Brownstones are sold, and in record time, especially considering the market. We looked at a number of other condo developments, including Ginter Place and Monument Square, prior to deciding on WBV. While these had a lot going for them, we found the location in Short Pump preferable, and the design of the units more appealing. I invite Kevin to compare the sales success of the Brownstones to ANY other condo project in the area.

I am not sure where he gets his facts as to "none of these people will live here (WBV) in ten years." My wife and I plan to stay put, as do most of the neighbors we talk to. Why not - everything we need is here or nearby.

As to Lisa's comment on "white flight" I find that the diverse mix of WBV residents negates her statement. Further, there IS urban rehab going on in Richmond - check the recent articles in the RTD regarding the conversion of two downtown high-rise bank buildings into "affordable" apartments as the most recent examples.

17 likes, 8 dislikes
Posted by John Bonbright on 01/31/2013 at 12:58 PM

Re: “Inward and Upward

I respectfully disagree with "Bruce" regarding the construction of the townhouses. I have lived in one of the Eagle "Brownstones" for two years, and have watched them being built. Having been involved in new construction for many years (not in West Broad Village), I can unequivocally state that the Eagle townhomes are as well built as any I have seen elsewhere, with modern techniques and materials and no penny pinching. I wonder if he might be more specific in his assertions - ?

17 likes, 3 dislikes
Posted by John Bonbright on 01/30/2013 at 4:34 PM

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