It’s been over six years since former “Landmark” hotel property owner Halsey Minor broke ground on the planned boutique hotel for the DTM, and nearly two years since Atlanta-based developer John Dewberry bought the property for $6.25 million at auction, promising at the time to finish construction on the project once a similar hotel project of Dewberry’s is completed in Charleston, South Carolina.
Meanwhile, this “black spot” on the DTM landscape, as Dewberry himself called it, has continued to plague the downtown skyline. Indeed, City planner recently deemed the structure “blighted” and forced Dewberry to better secure the site or else risk further action. What’s more, sources in Charleston say there has yet to be any serious progress on the hotel project down there.
Many in the community wonder if the hotel will ever get build, and are frustrated that no progress has been made.
“I don’t believe he paid the amount he paid just to let this property sit,” says Neighborhood development chief Jim Tolbert. ” I don’t know any business folks that would last long if they bought properties and had no intention of developing them.”
Still, Tolbert says he understands the frustration everyone feels.
“But we have no legal authority to compel him [Dewberry] to finish,” he says. ” We got him to secure the property and that is the limit of authority that we have.”
However, The DTM has some welcome news: reliable sources we spoke to claim that Dewberry has “sworn” that he will begin construction on the Charlottesville hotel by the end of the summer, and that he has already hired a construction manager.
Indeed, while Tolbert declined to confirm that, he did tell The DTM that Dewberry has had a change of plans, and has told him that he will start the Charlottesville project at the same time that he starts the Charleston project, and that he has already secured financing.
“That work might begin in a very short time,” says Tolbert. “All we can do is wait and see.”
Indeed, that’s all we’ve ever been able to do.