Church Hill Civil War Home Provides Loan for Civil War Survivor in Sudan

A little while ago, I had the good fortune of helping some friends buy a home in Historic Church Hill.  I thought I’d post a few pictures and let them tell you about the process.  I also thought it was cool that they bought a pre-Civil War era house, which is now connected in a small way to a young woman in Sudan, who is living in the aftermath of her own country’s longstanding civil war.

When I need to know a piece of history about Richmond, Richard is my go-to guy.  So it seemed appropriate that he would be the person to buy this little gem in Church Hill- right above Libby Hill Park- and care for this living piece of history in the decades to come.

The house was built circa 1850

I asked Richard a couple questions:

Me: This is a very special house in a wonderful location, and complete with a well preserved servant’s quarters and an English Basement.  What were the things about the house that stood out to you?
Richard:  1850 is the vintage as far as I know, we value historic houses and were happy to find one whose owners had a sense of stewardship for the place.  We appreciated that though it had been a duplex, the renovations were sensitive to the historic materials and done to last.

Charming streets complete with gas lamps

 

Libby Hill Park, just down the block

Me
: You got to choose who would receive a loan to be tied to the purchase of this house.  Why did you choose Lucy Peter?

Lucy will use her loan to expand her business of buying and selling fish in the local marketplace. Click photo to learn more

Richard: It was a joy to choose a loan to Lucy Peter in South Sudan, and giving this loan reminded us how amazingly fortunate we are in this country to have a  banking system that functions well for so many people.  A 4% loan in a country that is fairly stable economically is surely rare in this world.  I wish everyone buying a house could have the opportunity to tie it to a loan for someone in a country where loans are so much harder to come by.
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2 more houses in Church Hill have also contributed to the success of struggling entrepreneurs around the world.  If you want to, you can learn more about those loans by clicking on the pictures of the loan recipient below!

Mawar women expanded their farm in Indonesia

Wahhab started a motorcycle repair shop in Iraq

Jay McGee used to live in Southeast Asia, doing language research and literacy development. Now he’s a Real Estate Agent with Compass Realty. He gives a microloan to somebody in a developing country every time someone in Richmond buys or sells their home with him.  Learn why here.
Contact: jaymcgee.kw@gmail.com

RVA Neighborhoods: Shockoe Bottom $20 Burger & Beer Giveaway!

UPDATE: Congratulations, Liz R! You have won the Giveaway to Station 2!!

(Liz was chosen at random by Random.org)

You are in for a real treat, Liz!  Have a great time at Station 2.

 

 

Question: How do you know you’ve stumbled upon an awesome new restaurant?

Answer: When they have “Beer Cheese” on their menu.

Click the photo to see Station 2's website and full menu

This week saw the grand opening of Station 2 in Shockoe Bottom.  I got to eat there last night, and I think they hit the nail on the head with this one.

You had me at "beer cheese."

When we saw “Beer Cheese” on the menu, it was a no-brainer: we ordered it.  I don’t know how they did it, but they did it: two of the most beautiful words in the English language -beer and cheese- together at last, and served with bread from Lucille’s Bakery on Cary St.

 

Station 2 is a burger joint that has gone for quality and inventiveness.  Their appetizers show their own unique take on some classic ingredients: sweet potato tots, onion straws, fried green beans, potato shingles with garlic aioli, wet fries- served with smoked gouda cheese and homemade gravy.

Their burger menu might be the best I’ve seen in Richmond.  If you just like a quick, simple burger, they have classic “grill pressed” burgers for $3.50.  Not too shabby.

Sweet Potato Tots

But if you want a burger to really write home about, every char-grilled burger is it’s own inspired work.  They’ve got a Grilled Cheese Burger served, topped with 3 different cheeses and then served on texas toast.  Then there’s the “Bbq Barista”- check this out: a “coffee rubbed burger with applewood smoked bacon, smoked gouda… and bbq sauce.”  I had the “classic station 2 burger” with bacon and cheddar.  It’s an easy contender for one of the best burgers I’ve had in Richmond.

 

He takes his coffee black, too.

Here’s what I appreciate about Station 2; wherever possible, they have kept their ingredients local.  The meat is all natural beef from Buffalo Creek Beef, in Lexington VA.  The bread is from Lucille’s Bakery on Cary St.  They’ve got 12 beers on tap and more than half of those are from local brewers.  And the ice cream (they’ve got an assortment of adult milkshakes that look amazing) is from Homestead Creamery, in Wirtz, VA.

The atmosphere was exactly what you would expect from a good restaurant in Shockoe Bottom: Historic, cool, fun.  It was a cool enough atmosphere to meet friends at the bar for a drink, but it was not so cool that I felt out of place bringing my toddler along for the ride.  They have a fun little kids menu, crayons and paper.

 

 

Giveaway Prize: 1 person will win a $20 gift card to Station 2!

Requirements: Enter to win just by leaving a comment on this post telling us who makes the best burgers in Richmond.

-Contest ends 12 midnight on Sunday, Aug. 7.  The winner will be chosen Monday, Aug. 8.

-Due to the local nature of the contest, participants should be Richmond area residents.

Optional Extra Entries: You can earn up to 3 extra entries by doing the following:

-Share the link for this post on your facebook wall.  Winner will need to verify.

-Tweet this: I just entered to win a $20 burger & beer giveaway from www.realrva.com via @jay_mcgee @station2rva #rva

-Join the RealRVA Kiva Lending Team (learn more here)

Be sure to leave a comment for each extra entry.  Good Luck!

 

 

Jay McGee used to live in Southeast Asia, doing language research and literacy development. Now he’s a Real Estate Agent with Keller Williams Realty. He gives a microloan to somebody in a developing country every time someone in Richmond buys or sells their home with him.
Contact: jaymcgee.kw@gmail.com

From Church Hill with Love

I had the good fortune of helping some old friends buy a house in Church Hill.  It just closed, so that means it’s time to tie another home loan in Richmond with a microloan for someone… somewhere.

This time the someone is actually 10 women, and the somewhere is Indonesia.  Confession: I used to live in Indonesia, so it is hard for me not to send most of my microloans there.  I look at this picture of women and I feel like I’ve met them.  I know exactly how flimsy those sandals feel in your hand and I can picture the street market where they were probably purchased.  I see their decidedly Indonesian strike-a-pose deadpan stare at the camera and I am once again there.  In the heat.  Smell of smoke.  Smell of smog.  Animals and kids.  Muddy shoes.  I miss it.

One of the women is going to use her part of the loan to buy 2 piglets, pig feed, and improve upon her barn.

These women are taking out a group loan.  This is very common in microfinance.  A group of neighbors takes out a lump sum of money and they are all responsible to pay the full amount back.  If one woman does not repay her share, the other women must pay her part.  This is actually one of the things that makes microloans in developing countries so successful; there is accountability.  Each of these women will support and encourage the other to work hard, plan well, save, and be successful in her business.

In the group, everyone has a stake in everyone else’s success.

Isn’t it the same for all of us?

RealRVA Lending Team

 

 

Want to change the world in a small way?  Join the RealRVA Lending Team.

Want to learn more about microfinance?  Check out some of the Microfinance Websites on the right.

Baby Steps… All you need to do is link to this post on twitter or your facebook page to earn $1 more for this loan.  Just leave a comment and let me know that you did!

 

Jay McGee used to live in Southeast Asia, doing language research and literacy development. Now he’s a Real Estate Agent with Compass Realty. He gives a microloan to somebody in a developing country every time someone in Richmond buys or sells their home with him.
Contact: jaymcgee.kw@gmail.com

 

RVA Neighborhoods: Church Hill (plus The Hill Cafe $25 GIVEAWAY)

Ben is a math teacher at LC Bird High School, and is attending VCU to get his MS in Mathematics.  Ben has lived in Shockoe Bottom for a year and will be moving into Church Hill at the end of the summer.  He is also a proud connoisseur of tasteless jokes.

 After a year, I feel like I have been in Richmond long enough to begin to discover the unique “color” and “flavor” of each of the city’s neighborhoods.  When I drive up Broad St. to the Fan I am picturing the pastels of the row houses and the tastes of the coffee shops.  On my way to Shockoe Slip I envision the cobblestones and the taste of Bottoms Up Pizza.

In the case of Church Hill, I struggled to nail down a color, but after walking around the neighborhood one more time I decided on the dark red of bricks.  Each house in Church Hill subscribes to a brick template with a row house feel.  While the houses seem to be cut from a mold, their prices can range from $110k to $775k all on one street.  In Church Hill, there aren’t many enclaves based on wealth, race, etc.  Everyone is very well integrated, and the infrastructure is evidence of that.

In terms of taste, this is one I am still grappling with.  Church Hill is the safe haven for a very homegrown type of food culture.  On the micro level, just walking around yards you’ll see a few gardens with squash, tomatoes, cucumbers, and other vegetables sprawling over the grass.  There’s even a quaint little garage on the main drag where every Sunday, some local brewers are out sharing their own fruit of the earth with the general populous.

From the business end of the food culture, there’s a range from Carolina BBQ to fine dining with no apology.  The Alamo BBQ has been nestled in Churchill for long enough to attract the attention of any carnivore within nose-shot.  Their vinegar based BBQ sauce piled onto their award winning brisket is enough to make a good day great.

On the other end of the spectrum, The Hill Café doesn’t quite satisfy the BBQ palette of the southern gentlemen, but will offer a fried soft-shell crab and a wedge steak salad.  The Hill Café contrasts the large portions of peasant food offered in many parts of the city with a calm and almost high-brow “sit down” style of dining, yet without the price!  The Hill Café is about comfort; comfort food, and a comfortable environment.

Finally, to round out some notables of Church Hill, we have Captain Buzzy’s Beanery.  Yes, it’s a coffee shop, seemingly nothing surprising there.  However, each of their goodies are locally baked!

It’s hard to nail down the personality of Church Hill.  In most neighborhoods, with all the different avenues of culture, there would be envelopes of specific people and therefore a segregated neighborhood.  Fortunately,  Church Hill has grown up in a very differently than other neighborhoods and every walk of life can be found on each block, which makes Church Hill a great place for a young professional, a family man with wife and kids in tow, and for the retired looking for a quiet place to settle down and take up their newly impassioned gardening hobby!

 

Giveaway Prizes:

-1 person will win a $25 gift card to The Hill Cafe in Church Hill.

Requirements:

-To enter, leave a comment on this post (only one!).  Lame comments like “cool giveaway!” won’t be considered.

-Due to the local nature of the giveaway, you should have a Richmond mailing address (we will contact you via email if you win, so make sure it’s valid!).

-Contest ends Tuesday, July26  at midnight.

Thanks, Ben for the great write up on your neighborhood!  Would you like to write about your RVA Neighborhood?  Contact me!

Jay McGee used to live in Southeast Asia, doing language research and literacy development. Now he’s a Real Estate Agent with Keller Williams Realty. He gives a microloan to somebody in a developing country every time someone in Richmond buys or sells their home with him.
Contact: jaymcgee.kw@gmail.com

A seed takes root in Iraq

The RealRVA Lending Team gave a  loan last week.  This loan was made on behalf of some clients who just bought a home with me as their Buyer’s Agent a few weeks ago.  The husband likes riding motorcycles, so I thought Wahhab would be the perfect match.

Wahhab Razzak Jabbar

Wahhab Razzak Jabbar, Iraq (Kiva.org)

Wahhab is from Iraq. He is 27 years old, single, and lives with seven family members.
He opened a shop for selling and repairing motorcycles in 2007. He has good experience and a good reputation and he is well known in his area.

He was requesting a $2400 loan to pay the annual rent for his shop. He is aiming to gain more profits so he can improve his family’s quality of life.

RealRVA and 75 other lenders pooled together our money to give Wahhab the $2400 loan he needed.

Click here to read more about Wahhab.  There’s also interesting info about how loans work in Muslim countries.

Want to give a loan to somebody like Wahhab?  Join the RealRVA Lending Team!

Jay McGee used to live in Southeast Asia, doing language research and literacy development. Now he’s a Real Estate Agent with Keller Williams Realty. He gives a microloan to somebody in a developing country every time someone in Richmond buys or sells their home with him.
Contact: jaymcgee.kw@gmail.com


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