The Latest

The Latest

James River Nurseries recently completed a landscaping project for a local museum with a rich history in our area. Originally opening in 1898, this museum was the first private museum in the City of Richmond.  You may know it by the name Valentine Museum but it was actually renamed Valentine Richmond History Center in 2000. Now, after an extensive renovation project that began last December which necessitated the temporary closing of the facility, they are preparing for a big grand re-opening later this month and as part of that they are reintroducing themselves as…The Valentine.

According to an article posted by, Domenick Casuccio, director of public relations and marketing for The Valentine, believes “the new brand is contemporary yet classic and our name is very versatile to all the things we do – many of which do not fit with people’s assumptions of what a “history center” or a “museum” would typically do, for instance our Community Conversations and our annual Richmond History Makers awards.” He goes on to say “with the new brand and vision, we are focusing on telling Richmond stories and educating people on the city’s past and influencing the future. The new exhibition – This is Richmond, Virginia – will highlight Richmond stories. Our future exhibitions are planned around that same goal and vision to preserve, interpret and tell Richmond stories to influence the future of our city and our region.”

We ran across a video they posted and found it to be both interesting and informative.  Interesting because it is a time-lapsed video showing an 1856 map of the City of Richmond being painted on the gallery floor, and informative because it provides a concise narrative on the mission of The Valentine and tells a story that is likely to prompt you to visit, or re-visit, this iconic institution.

We hope you enjoy watching it, we know we did!

James River Nurseries recently completed a landscaping and hardscapes project at Independence Golf Club and we couldn’t help but notice something special going on over there. Not in terms of a “special offer” or “special occasion,” but rather “special” in a more abstract way.

First, a little back ground. On October 1, 2013, Pros Inc., a locally based company, acquired Independence Golf Club, a 260-acre daily-fee course and all the assets on the property. It would probably not come as a surprise the new owners wanted to make some changes, but what is a bit suprising and what is creating the feeling that something “special” is going on is the vision the new owners seemingly have for this gem of a property.

Spearheaded by Giff Breed, President of Pros Inc., they are not limiting their sights to the obvious…the golf assets of the facility. It appears they are going for a much more creative approach when it comes to maximizing the potential of this piece of property and applying a significantly broader stroke of the brush when it comes to amenities and events that could drive new sources of revenue from non-golf related activities thereby creating a much more dynamic and vibrant resort like complex.

Sticking to the obvious topic of golf for a moment, they believe that after extensive renovations to the golf course, which necessitated its closing from May thru mid-September, that they “have arguably the best public course in Richmond.”  The fairways, bunkers and greens have all been re-done in a manner designed to create positive changes in the pace of play, playability and sustainability of the course. Lester George of George Golf Design, who has also done work at the Country Club of Virginia and Kinloch Golf Club as well as numerous other courses, oversaw the new design keeping both the individual golfer's experience while playing in mind as well as maintaining an eco-friendly focus by utilizing materials that are earth friendly. They are now even using two new Lexus CT Hybrids from Lexus of Richmond as official “Player Assistance Vehicles” (beverage carts).

As for the changes to the clubhouse, they represent just a few examples of that “broader stroke of the brush.” Many of the changes being made are in an effort to invite a much larger audience into the fold. For starters, they are nearing completion of a 3,200 square-foot banquet hall overlooking the course which will be an attractive venue for wedding receptions and other events. There is an additional 2,500 square feet available under the new banquet hall which may be converted into a spa at some point in the future. They are also adding a new restaurant that will offer people in the surrounding areas a great alternative for dining.

Additional new ancillary amenities and events are currently in the works and others are longer term ideas still in the conceptual/feasibility stages. The list includes a grass court that can be used for tennis or croquet, a newly reworked driving range where the bunkers were removed in order to create a venue where outdoor concerts could be held, as well as the possibility of zip lines, horse trails and even a boutique hotel on the property. Only time will tell what the eventual amenity package will look like at this facility, but as Mr. Giff expressed in an article published by Richmond BizSense, “we have to constantly be thinking what’s coming next.”

A non-profit organization called Fore Children, led by Eddie Swink, has been formed and will continue and even broaden the mission of the club’s rich history of focusing on the well-being of children in our community. Over the course of a year, they anticipate hosting approximately 3,000 children, including hundreds of inner-city, at-risk children for different events ranging from golf activities to art and cooking classes (and many things in between) all designed to have a positive impact on the lives of these children.

Also, look to see members of the men’s and women’s golf teams from the University of Richmond around the facility as they will soon be using Independence Golf Club as a base of operations.  That certainly seems to be a good fit particularly given the fact that the University of Richmond is Mr. Breed's alma mater (where legend has it he was quite the baseball player for the Spiders back in the day).  Mr. Breed also earned his M.B.A. from the University of Virginia Darden School of Business. 

At James River Nurseries, we feel fortunate that our business brings us in contact with so many great members of this community and we especially enjoy seeing examples of exceptionally creative people and companies at work. When we heard of the vision and potential that Pros Inc. believes this facility has, we could tell we had run across that type of creativity. We wish them the best in their efforts as they strive to bring their vision to life.

To learn more about this club, please go to Independence Golf Club

Also, they have a “The Latest” page on their website which you might want to consider putting on your “go to” list of informative pages. We have a feeling there is going to be a lot of good stuff for them to write about!

James River Nurseries recently landscaped an upscale luxury custom home built by Pitts & Associates. Just like each home they build, this one was born out of a collaborative effort between the client, architect and Tony Pitts, owner of Pitts & Associates.

For a little background on Tony and his company, we will jump back in time 27 years. That would be when Tony was a recent graduate of Hampden-Sydney College and decided to return to his hometown and become a home builder.  Tony didn't want to be just any type of home builder, he set his sights on a very specific niche market. That market…high end, upscale homes where luxury comes standard.  Based on his track record, we would say his aim was spot-on.

Tony’s hands-on approach, coupled with the scale of the projects, necessitates a limit to the number of clients he works with at any given time. Keeping the number of homes built each year to only a few, Tony is able to ensure the craftsmanship & attention to detail that his clients have come to expect.   Superior quality, lasting value, inspired design and genuine customer care have all contributed to a reputation that is the fuel behind his success. Almost all of his business comes from referrals made by someone familiar with the quality of his work.

For nearly two decades, James River Nurseries has been Tony’s go to landscape contractor. We appreciate his confidence in our ability to deliver quality landscaping and to be listed among the subcontractors that have maintained a long term working relationship with Tony and his company.  At Pitts & Associates, they believe "relationships are a significant aspect of the building process" and contribute to their ability to consistently deliver his clients the highest levels of quality and service.

Oh…and we really enjoy having the opportunity to see the homes that he builds…they are always awesome! Below is a short video of James River Nurseries landscaping his most recent project.  We think you’ll see why we say his homes are awesome!

For additional information on Tony and his company, please go to Pitts & Associates

West Broad Village is an upscale masterfully planned urban village located in Short Pump.  Situated on 115 acres, this community is comprised of residential homes, retail & office space, restaurants, a hotel and recreational amenities. Additionally, the community was designed to provide spaces for public gatherings where events, festivals, concerts and Farmer's Markets can take place.

James River Nurseries recently completed a project in West Broad Village aimed at creating more of a park like setting to a portion of the open space within the community.  Below you will find a  short video showing the before, during and after of this project.

Best in class, cutting edge, innovative land planning skills, an uncanny ability to envision and bring to life communities that become destinations where families find superior home designs, extraordinary lifestyles, amenity packages that are both creative and original making them feel more like resorts than just another neighborhood, and doing so at the highest level for over 40 years. Those are just a few phrases that have become synonymous with the latest developer to call upon James River Nurseries for landscaping needs in their newest community. The developer is East West Communities and the community is Hallsley.

East West Communities was founded in 1973 by what they describe as “a young group of real estate professionals working for one of the nation’s premier resort developers, Sea Pines Company.” Collectively they set out to offer families the ability to live “the resort life year-round.” What that group did and continues to do, is just that.

The first community they developed was Brandermill and in 1977 (just 4 years after the company was founded) they had an accolade most developers only dream of having. Brandermill was named “The Best Planned Community in America” by the National Association of Home Builders and Better Homes & Gardens Magazine. They had hit the big time and they have never looked back.

In 1990, the Urban Land Institute, arguably one of the most respected and credible group of individuals representing the complete continuum of those involved in land use development disciplines both in the public and private sector including leading property owners, investors, developers, service firms, planners, public officials, and academics, chose East West’s next development, Woodlake, as the “Best New Community in America.”

For over 40 years this company has built a resume that is a bit lengthy to spell out in its entirety in this article, so we will just fast forward to their latest community, Hallsley.

You may or may not be aware that Hallsley was originally being developed by another firm which ran up against insurmountable circumstances during the “great recession.” The community was in trouble and of the original 740 lots planned, only 140 lots had been developed with 100 homes occupied and 10 houses under construction. In February of 2013, East West Communities announced they had purchased the undeveloped portion of Hallsley which included 545 acres in two sections of the property.

At James River Nurseries, our confidence level is quite high that single announcement had exponentially more than just a handful of people in this town breathing a huge sigh of relief knowing that with this dynamic and successful group of individuals that make up East West Communities at the helm, things would turn around very quickly and boy did they ever! Since taking over, development is again underway, homes are being constructed, new homeowners are moving in and the amenities are being built.

As for maintaining their ability to develop communities worthy of praise, just take a look at the awards the Home Building Association of Richmond’s Sales and Marketing Council bestowed upon East West Communities and Hallsley in 2013.

Developer of the Year
Best Marketed Community (over 500 homes)
Best Print Advertisement - "Finally, A Neighborhood with Variety"
Best Television Advertisement - "Uniquely Hallsley"
Best Website
Best Social Media
Best Advertising Campaign
Best Special Promotion - Brokerage/Agents - VIP Celebration

There may be a couple of different adjectives that could accurately describe what East West Communities has done in turning this community around so quickly and racking up honors along the way, but the one we would use is…IMPRESSIVE!

The impact this company has been making on the real estate market in our region for over 40 years should not be underestimated. Like the proverbial tide that lifts all boats, they have forced other developers in the area to step up their game in an effort to attract a share of the market.  Everyone benefits when an industry leader is highly competent in their area of expertise and is able to demonstrate what it means to push the limits of possibilities.  

James River Nurseries would like to extend our gratitude to the folks over at East West Communities for recognizing us as a landscape contractor they can trust to delivery quality landscaping to a community they are clearly passionate about and to congratulate them on all of their success over the forty plus years!  

To learn more about this developer, please go to East West Communities
To learn more about this community, please go to Hallsley