For some in 55-plus communities, townhouses with elevators meet all their needs

Why a 4-level Private Elevator Townhome works for Birchwood resident, Janet Lynd! 🌿

Source: Washington Post Real Estate By Michele Lerner (May 30 at 6:30 AM)

Janet Lynd walks to her four-story townhouse at the Lifts at Birchwood at Brambleton in Ashburn, Va. The 55-and-older community offers elevators in the units. (Ricky Carioti/The Washington Post)

James and Svitlana Harden, residents at the Crest of Alexandria community for people 55 and older, knew someday they would need to leave behind their multilevel townhouse in Alexandria, Va., for single-level living where they could age-in-place without worrying about climbing stairs. The couple never expected to move a half-mile and into another townhouse.

“After I retired from the Treasury Department, we wanted to move to a 55-plus community for the social life,” James says. “But when we looked at some of the developments along I-66, we knew the traffic would be too rough and we would be less likely to walk to places.”

The Hardens found a compromise that meets all their needs: a townhouse with an elevator in an active-adult community within walking distance of a grocery store, a gym, restaurants and a coffee shop.

The Crest of Alexandria has townhouses from Craftmark Homes and Van Metre with elevators, as well as single-family houses from Van Metre with first-floor master suites and condominiums from the Christopher Cos.

Townhouses with elevators are also available at Walhaven at Kingstowne in Alexandria from Miller & Smith and at Birchwood at Brambleton in Ashburn from Van Metre.

“I love having an elevator, even though I mostly just put my groceries in it and meet it on my kitchen level,” said Lynd, seen here in the elevator. (Ricky Carioti/The Washington Post)

Townhouses, although relatively rare in most active-adult communities, are appearing more frequently in the mix of housing for older adults in the Washington region.

Craftmark Homes plans to build more townhouses with elevators in 55-plus communities in Virginia and Maryland because they have been so successful at the Crest, says Lori Windsor, sales manager for Craftmark Homes at the Crest of Alexandria.

“Townhouses with elevators may be a significant part of the mix of housing in some markets, but it’s not a widespread trend,” says Paul Emrath, vice president for survey and housing policy research at the National Association of Home Builders. “There’s a small share of people who want age-restricted townhouses with elevators nationally, but it’s an important niche in some areas.”

Townhouses tend to be found in 55-plus developments in high-cost areas where land is scarce and there’s a tendency to build vertically for all types of communities, not just age-restricted ones.

Emrath says most older people remain in the neighborhoods near where they have lived, such as the Hardens. If they’re used to townhouses, they’re more likely to be open to one in an active-adult development.

Janet Lynd, a resident at the Lifts at Birchwood at Brambleton in Ashburn, Va., wasn’t looking for a townhouse when she found her four-story one.

“I wanted an active-adult community, especially a new one that wasn’t already established, for the social life,” Lynd says. “I love having an elevator, even though I mostly just put my groceries in it and meet it on my kitchen level.”

The primary benefit of an elevator is that homeowners can age-in-place without worrying about their future agility.

“Our home buyers may not need or want ‘no-stair’ living in their mid-50s when they originally purchase in an active-adult community, but as they age and mobility becomes a factor, the elevator is a ‘future-proof’ feature that alleviates a move to another home,” says Kim Ambrose, vice president of marketing at Miller & Smith.

Lynd was also grateful for the elevator when she injured her knee and used the elevator for a few weeks until she recovered. Her 2,100-square-foot townhouse has a lower-level media room where her sons can watch football when they visit, a kitchen and living area on the second floor, and two more levels with three bedrooms and two bathrooms.

The addition of an elevator typically costs $20,000 to $25,000, says Mike Sandkuhler, vice president of building operations at Van Metre.

The cost is a prime reason they are less common in areas with lower housing costs.

“If an elevator costs $20,000 or so, that looks a lot different on a $700,000 home versus a $200,000 home,” Emrath says.

At the Crest of Alexandria, the townhouses are priced from $674,990 to $699,990 from Van Metre and from $699,900 from Craftmark Homes. At Walhaven at Kingstowne, the townhouses from Miller & Smith are priced from $601,990 to $646,990. At Birchwood at Brambleton, the prices for the townhouses are $454,000 to $494,000. All include an elevator as a standard feature.

“The challenge of building a townhouse with an elevator is accessibility,” Sandkuhler says. “The elevator provides accessibility inside the house, but you also have to make sure that the front entrance and the garage entrance are flat, with no steps leading into the unit. That means you need flat ground, too.”

Townhouses with elevators tend to be larger than many condos or one-story, single-family houses in active-adult communities.

“You need extra space to accommodate the elevator and yet still have enough closets and large enough rooms,” Sandkuhler says.


Janet Lynd stands on the balcony of her home. “I wanted an active-adult community, especially a new one that wasn’t already established, for the social life,” Lynd says. (Ricky Carioti/The Washington Post)

The Harden’s townhouse has more than 3,000 square feet.

In the Washington area, land is limited and expensive. Townhouses give you more bang for the buck because you can fit more of them on the available land, Sandkuhler says.

“Three-level elevator townhouses definitely allow for a higher density neighborhood than a villa-style home,” Ambrose says. “It also allows for more open space around the homes which the homeowner association maintains, whereas a villa-style home has more land located on the individual’s homesite.”

Lynd was looking for a home where she wouldn’t have to do yardwork or any outdoor maintenance. While most active-adult communities provide lawn care and snow removal, sometimes homeowners need to maintain the landscaping in their yard.

Townhouses make it possible to build more active-adult communities in neighborhoods close to the city.

“Most of our buyers have kids who live in D.C., Arlington or Alexandria, and they want to be near them so that every visit doesn’t have to be an event,” Windsor says. “If they live in Ashburn or farther away, they would have to drive at night and drive in a lot of traffic just to meet for dinner.”

Many of the buyers at Miller & Smith’s Walhaven neighborhood in Kingstowne are already residents of the surrounding neighborhoods.

“They want a lower maintenance lifestyle but don’t want to leave their friends and family,” Ambrose says.

Higher-density construction also makes it easier for residents to live within walking distance of amenities surrounding their communities.

“In our surveys, older buyers tell us they like to be near retail, so clustering houses and townhouses can get you closer to shops, services and restaurants,” Emrath says.

A townhouse doesn’t appeal to every buyer. Although she has a mudroom, a coat closet and plenty of closet space in her bedrooms, Lynd misses having a basement and an attic for storage.

One other drawback for some buyers is that the living spaces are spread over three or four levels rather than just one, Ambrose says.

But some buyers like that aspect so they have space for grandchildren to play or watch a movie while the adults gather on another level.

“A townhouse maximizes your living space,” Windsor says. “For retirees, it’s great to have separate space, too. They can use the extra bedrooms as offices or as a place where one person can read while someone watches TV in another room.”

Some of the buyers at the Crest of Alexandria moved from condos in other communities into a townhouse, Windsor says, because they didn’t like living in an apartment with neighbors on all sides.

Most of all, Windsor says, buyers like the idea of the elevator, which functions as a “bell boy” for their luggage and groceries.

“Seventy percent of our buyers travel often, so it’s great to have the ability to pack and then send the luggage down to the garage and not carry it on the stairs,” Windsor says.

Plus, there’s the cool factor when you tell your friends and family you have a private elevator, once an amenity reserved only for the ultrawealthy.


Birchwood at Brambleton Developer Update – May 2019

birchwood developer update

May 2019

Birchwood Clubhouse &
Grounds Coming Together

The Birchwood Clubhouse and grounds are still under construction, but we are excited to give you a sneak peek! Stay tuned for the Grand Opening details expected later this summer. The Sporting and Formal Gardens are also starting to take shape – are you ready to play?

birchwood sporting garden

South of Shreveport Road, crews are adding the new Stream Valley Trail system adjacent to the Broad Run Flood Plain. We are thrilled to be working with resident Richard LeRoy who is sharing his naturalist knowledge to help us create a signage plan for all to enjoy while utilizing these future trails. Take a bird’s eye tour of the new trail here.

Birchwood truly has something for everyone with 11 models now open and prices ranging from the $300s to $700s! The latest model openings include 3 new Van Metre condos,The Flats, and their single-family home, the Marlowe. Please visit our website for more information.

New residents are settling in and enjoying the Birchwood lifestyle. They have been excited to share their activities with us on social media – documenting the Birds of Birchwood and a day out with their “Birchwood Buddies,” to name a few. Are you ready to live “Life Refreshed?


Community Update Spring 2019

Community Update | Spring 2019

As we wait for the chilly air to adjust to the calendar, development and building activity continues at a rapid rate at the area’s best selling active adult community, Birchwood at Brambleton.

Clubhouse Updates

The new 20,000 square foot stone and hardiplank clubhouse is progressing nicely and the construction crews are busy completing the trails and pier around Lake Birchwood.

Sure to be the heart and soul of the community, the clubhouse will wow you with its wraparound porches, chef’s demonstration kitchen, yoga studio, arts & crafts room and indoor and outdoor pools, not to mention the great views over the lake. It’s slated to open later this summer.

Birchwood at Brambleton Clubhouse Construction progress
 

The Flats Opening soon

You won’t want to miss this! Van Metre’s highly-anticipated single-family model at Birchwood is almost complete, and you’re invited to join them on Saturday, March 23rd from 12-3 PM to enjoy light refreshments while you get an exclusive sneak peek before they open. RSVP to Grace Strother, Sales Manager, at GStrother@VanMetreHomes.com or call 571-340-1150.

Van Metre’s one-level, low maintenance living Flats condominium models are expected to open early April. Choose from a variety of floorplans ranging from 1,000 – 2,000 square feet with up to 3 bedrooms and additional outdoor living spaces.

Van Metre's The Flats
Miller & Smith Crescendo planWinchester Homes Miller & Smith has a unique and limited opportunity for basement homesites on select Crescendo plans in their Encore collection. Contact Catherine Taylor for details at 703-327-0427.

Winchester Homes is taking the stress out of shopping for a new home with their Lock In. Rest Easy interest rate program. Lock in at today’s low rate, or get an even lower rate if rates drop—sounds like a win-win situation! Contact Mary Dixon to learn more at 703-939-1263.

 

In a hurry & can’t wait?
Check out our builders’ Immediate Delivery homes.
Start enjoying the active adult lifestyle in a low-maintenance home and walkable community sooner in one of our builders’ move-in ready homes.

 

New Community Manager

We’d like to introduce Rosemarie Linder to you as the new Community Manager for the Birchwood Community Association at Brambleton. Rosemarie brings a wealth of experience in sales, operations, and customer service, and looks forward to partnering with the residents and Board of Directors to foster a positive, vibrant, and successful community. Rosemarie was most recently the Director of Administration and Services for the Brambleton Community Association.

Rosemarie Linder, New Community Manager
 

Did you Know?
Virginia has one of the lowest real estate rates in the country and we’re the 3rd lowest on the eastern seaboard. Low taxes and spectacular amenities make Birchwood at Brambleton the perfect place to call home!

 

 

Plan Your visit
Our pop-up information center and builders’ models are open daily, 11am – 5pm. New for spring 2019, we are considering offering guided bus tours of Birchwood. If interested, please e-mail Stephanie.lee@brambleton.com.


Birchwood at Brambleton Attends The Ideal Living Resort & Retirement Show

We had a wonderful time at the  Ideal Living Resort & Retirement DC Show this past weekend at the The Ritz-Carlton, Tysons Corner!

Take a look at our display below. Did you attend? We loved meeting potential new homebuyers at the show and explaining everything that Birchwood has to offer! One of our home builders, Van Metre homes, was also in attendance and we had a great time hanging out with the Birchwood team.

Birchwood at Brambleton 55+ Living Community in Ashburn, VA

Many of the attendees were our neighbors from nearby counties such as Arlington, Alexandria and Fairfax and they were pleasantly surprised to learn that Birchwood at Brambleton was just down the road.  Future residents were glad to learn about our 55+ community that was close to “home” which allows for the ability still live near their adult children and grandchildren. Did you know that Virginia also has some of the lowest tax rates on the East Coast? One of the best parts of choosing to retire in Virginia is that you definitely don’t have to worry about any alligators in your backyard either! #VirginiaIsForLovers

People were impressed with the images on display of our 20,000 sq ft clubhouse (under construction now) and excited to learn that it is projected to open later this Summer. Birchwood’s clubhouse will offer amenities such as an indoor and outdoor pool, game room, indoor golf simulator, meeting area, demonstration kitchen, arts & crafts room, yoga and fitness area and overlooks a lake with a fishing pier and is connected to a large network of walking trails to additional amenities such as Pickle Ball and Bocce courts.

Are YOU old enough? We have Condos, Townhomes and Single Family Detached product available. If you’d like to learn more about your options at Birchwood, please call our information center (open daily 11am – 5pm) at 703-722-2427.


The new clubhouse will be the heart of the Birchwood at Brambleton community

A Picture's Worth 1,000 words at Birchwood

Beautiful stone exteriors and modern interior features and finishes don’t begin to describe the beauty and function of our new 20,000 sq.ft. clubhouse under construction at Birchwood at Brambleton.

Brimming with amenities and awe-inspiring views over the lake, the new clubhouse will feature indoor and outdoor pools, game rooms, a wellness/fitness area, yoga studio, a demonstration/catering kitchen, arts and crafts room, indoor and outdoor bars and social spaces. The new clubhouse will be the heart of the community. Completion is anticipated for late summer of this year.


Don’t Tour an Active-Adult Community if it Doesn’t Have These 5 Things

As seen in NewHomesGuide.

All over the region, builders and land developers are creating resort-style communities designed with builders over the age of 55 in mind. Commonly called “active-adult” or “active lifestyle” communities, these neighborhoods are filled with people just like you — active, energetic, young at heart and ready to make the most of a beautiful new home.

As you search for one of these communities yourself, you’ll be presented with a nearly limitless number of options to choose from. But before you ever set foot in one of these sought-after communities for a tour, there are a few things we think you should look for first:

Exceptional Amenities
Without a wide array of amenities, it’s not an active-adult community, so the best ones are filled with everything from swimming pools and walking trails to sports courts and golf courses.

If you can’t live without a fitness center, make sure the communities you’re looking at have the right equipment and space for you. If a lot of golf is in your future, do your due diligence to make sure the community golf course is up to par. Every community will offer something a little bit different, so you just need to decide what’s most important to you.

A Truly Active Community
They’re called “active-adult” communities for a reason, and the amenities available at the community only tell part of the story. The ideal 55+ community is going to have an active social scene of neighbors. It should be thriving with activities, clubs and events.

Although you’ll probably need to take a tour of the community to get a true feel of just how “active” it really is, take a closer look at its Facebook page, Instagram profile, website and online reviews ahead of time. This is the best way to get an early sense of whether or not a community’s energy level matches your own.

Brambleton Town Center

Proximity to Everything You Want
Just because you’ll be living in a community gives you access to great amenities, it doesn’t mean that you won’t ever want to leave to visit friends, family members, your favorite shops or venues.

Be cognizant of what’s around the community you’re looking at and think about how living there would affect your lifestyle. If you’re still commuting to work, this is an obvious one, but if you’re interested in going to the beach or being close to shopping or entertainment centers, take a closer look at how far away everything is from what might be your new home.

High-Quality Home Design
You shouldn’t have to sacrifice a long-lasting, high-quality home in favor of the active-adult lifestyle. Your home should come with all the promises and benefits of a new home, plus the perks of living in a resort-style community.

When searching for an active-adult community, be sure to do some research about the builders actually building homes there. You’ll want to get a sense of what their building practices are in regard to energy efficiency, home warranties, innovative features and high-quality materials.

Flexible Living Options
In addition to a high-quality home, be sure to look for builders who offer a breadth of flexible living options such as single-level living, optional guest suites, open floorplans and more. As you look, think about convenience in everyday living and what features would appeal to visiting friends and family. The top builders and communities will offer a vast array of options and features to pick from.


Community Update – November 2018

Community Update

As Birchwood’s pioneer residents begin to settle into their new homes, construction activity is well underway. Crews have been busy installing signage, bus shelters, landscaping, trails and a pier around the lake. The impressive 20,000 square foot Clubhouse is under construction with an anticipated opening date of summer ‘19. The Clubhouse will feature indoor and outdoor pools, game rooms, social spaces and more.

Birchwood at Brambleton - Construction

Virginia is Ranked #3 for Lowest Taxes

Ideal Living has given us another reason to love our state – low real estate taxes! The magazine has ranked states by their real estate tax rate — from low to high — and Virginia comes in at #3 on the east coast. Stay local and enjoy the wonderful amenities and home selections at Birchwood at Brambleton, right here in beautiful and convenient Loudoun County.

 

The Lifts Models Open

Van Metre has opened their Lifts models — totally unique to the area and each four story home comes with a standard elevator. See them today!

 

Upcoming Events

The Brambleton Library will open its doors to the public Saturday, Dec. 1 at 1 PM with a ribbon cutting and grand opening celebration. Hope to see you there!

Plan Your visit

Our pop-up information center and builders’ models are open daily, 11am – 5pm. New for spring 2019, we are considering offering guided bus tours of Birchwood. If interested, please e-mail Stephanie.lee@brambleton.com.

BIRCHWOOD at Brambleton | Soave Real Estate
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Birchwood at Brambleton is Abuzz with Development Activity

BIRCHWOOD AT BRAMBLETON is Abuzz WITH DEVELOPMENT ACTIVITY
  Community monumentation is starting to go up all over Birchwood and construction of the Clubhouse has begun, including the pouring of both pool foundations.
Click here for construction updates »
Image of onsite construction
HOME BUILDERSVan Metre is excited to announce their first ever Lifts “Dusty Boots Tour” is this Saturday from 12-4pm, and construction of their Flats is well underway with an anticipated opening of early 2019. Miller & Smith and Winchester Homes now have their furnished models open with new sections under development. Those new lots are anticipated to be released this Fall.
  Visit Birchwood at the
Ideal-Living Show, at the
Ritz Carlton Hotel Tysons Corner
September 22 & 23.
Click here to learn more »
ideal-LIVING RESORT & RETIREMENT SHOW
Fleetwood Farm Winery FIRST ANNUAL RESIDENTS' HOLIDAY SOCIALCongratulations to our new homeowners at Birchwood. We are very excited to have you as part of our new community! Please be on the lookout for details on our First Annual Holiday event which will be held at Fleetwood Farm Winery, one of Loudoun’s newest wineries, located near Brambleton.  
BIRCHWOOD at Brambleton | Soave Real Estate
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