Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Charlottesville's Landmark Hotel and the Re-Bricking of Second Street

I've been wondering for some time when downtown business owners would begin getting antsy about the unfinished Landmark and its effect on surrounding properties.

Alas, Dave McNair's got the story in this week's Hook (here): it sounds as though some people are starting to lose (or have lost) their patience. The straw that broke the camel's back is the longer-than-expected City brick work on Second Street.

This is not surprising, since construction was halted approximately 18 months ago (January of '09, I believe) and there's still no news of a possible resolution.

The interesting political theory question that arises, particularly in the comments section of McNair's article, is whether the culprit here is (1) government or (2) the capitalist system.  There's an interesting analogy to the Gulf oil spill, where nobody (Obama included) seems capable of deciding if there should be more or less government involvement in addressing the hole in the ocean.

My reading of the comments is that opinion is split down the middle: some people think the City needs to be more assertive while others argue that there's very little the City could actually do. 

Here's an excerpt from McNair's piece:
Chas Webster figured that by now there’d be a lovely outdoor patio space and a luxury hotel in front of his restaurant The Box on Second Street SE. Instead, he’s looked out on what he describes as a “war zone” for over two years. And it’s taking a toll.
“Yesterday, I couldn’t even get into my own business,” he says, as the entrance to the building had been blocked off, allegedly without notice, by a construction crews under contract to the City.
“It’s ridiculous,” says Webster. “The City promised this would take four months. Now it’s taken almost twice as long as it did to renovate the entire Mall.”
 My earlier posts about the Landmark:
  • November 21, 2009 (here) - Charlottesville Circuit Court rulings in the ongoing litigation
  • July 25, 2009 (here) - Halsey Minor allegations against Specialty Finance Group
  • March 8, 2009 (here) - There'll be no bailout from the City
  • March 1, 2009 (here) - The litigation gets started

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