May 29, 2017

In March,  I was sent the offer to renew my lease which ended in April. Having lived here for 39 years, it was time to take stock of my living situation. I had moved into Three Chopt West in May of 1978. At that time, it was a very good address and they were highly selective to whom they rented. The buildings had been built in 1962 and many of the movers and shakers of Richmond lived here. Built to the highest standards of the day by Stern & Arenstien. The rooms were large and bright, the appliances the best available, and the bathrooms tastefully done in a rainbow of colors. When I came to sighn the sublease, the apartment director at the time, Jane, looked at me and told me that if there was one complaint of any kind, they would throw me out so fast my head would spin. This was a nice complex and it was going to stay that way.

Over the years, there have been multiple owners of the property, some good, and some bad. Management of the property ranged from excellent, like Jane, to people who made white trash seem like the Vanderbilts. As time went on, the apartments lost their luster and it became necessary to lower the standards to ensure greater occupancy. Section 8 applicants were now accepted and while on the whole these tenants were fine, there were some who decidedly weren’t, like the young man who sped around the corner of the driveway, lost control of his vehicle, went airborne, crashed through a lower apartment unit window and landed on a mother and her 2 children who were lying in bed. The mother was killed. Shortly after this, one tenant knifed another, and recently there was a home invasion during which the drug dealer tenants were able to shoot at the assailants, kill one and gravely injure the other.

The purchase of the complex by one of the noted slumlords of Richmond brought new management whose aggressive pursuit of cost containment has led to many services being taken away from the tenants. Due to an insect problem, we essentially became our own trashmen as service was reduced to 5 days a week. Hallways littered with trash bags until the trash people pick them up is definitely a sign of sophisticated and elegant housing.
The place had really gone downhill. It was time, and so began my adventures in home-ownership.  I figured if I lived anywhere in the future, it would be from where I would be taken to the crematorium. It would be one floor, 3 bed, 2 bath, carport, built prior to 1970, brick, gas utilities, and hopefully not too done over.

My realtor and I looked at a number of properties, including one with an abandoned pizza oven in the basement, and happened upon 4415 Wistar Road. It had been on the market for a while, price had been reduced twice, and within seconds of walking into it, it was home. The house, built in 1969, reflected almost identical construction practice with my 1962 apartment, down to fixtures and tile used. It had everything I had wanted with some incredible pluses, the original pine kitchen cabinetry from 1969, new appliances in the kitchen, original wood paneling in the den/family room, and an 812 foot basement, ideal for storage and a home eBay business. There was a large screened in porch, and the yard was small and attractive.

Amazed at how ideal this property was for me, my realtor put in an offer and subsequently, after a long waiting period so that the current owner’s new townhouse could be built, we are closing on June 1.

This is the introduction to the blog that I hope will follow the events leading up to the moving in. Before I get there, there will be renovations and decorating. Many laughs, surprises, frustrations, surprises, and tears. 

1 comment:

  1. Gosh, Stephen; your new house is as old as the P of the U and just as pretty! Good luck being a homeowner!!