Dewberry Hotel

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Skeleton of the Landmark Hotel

The Landmark Hotel is a partially constructed building on the Downtown Mall, proposed as a nine-story, 100-room luxury hotel.

Construction was abandoned in January 2009.

The firm Dewberry Capital of Atlanta won the shell of the building at an auction in June 2012 and plans to complete the structure. [1] As of 30 September 2020 no plans have been filed with the city to continue. Planning is expected to continue after a Dewberry hotel is opened in Charleston, South Carolina. That could happen in the spring of 2016. [2]


The Landmark was the creation of entrepreneur Halsey Minor. [3] The idea was to build a $30 million, nine-story luxury boutique hotel.

Before Minor

The construction site is a former bank building that was owned by Wachovia after it purchased Central Fidelity. [citation needed] Prior owners of the project included Lee Danielson and Oliver Kuttner, and other names used for the project in the past had been The Beacon-Charlottesville and Hotel Charlottesville. [4]


The Charlottesville Board of Architectural Review approved construction plans on February 20, 2008[4]. BAR granted conditional permission to tear down the black granite façade in October 2008[5]. Because of a quirk in Virginia law these original 2008 approvals remain in effect, and stay valid until 2017.[6]

Initial troubles surface soon after groundbreaking

Groundbreaking for the Landmark on March 11, 2008 and the opening was scheduled for July 2009. [7][3]

However, the project's financing was called into question as early as November 2008. That's when project lender Silverton Bank failed. [8]

Minor fired developer Lee Danielson in December 2008. [9] Construction stopped in January of 2009. The pair went to court.

The welter of lawsuits that followed the collapse of the project included a Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation ("FDIC") suit against Silverton Bank (which the FDIC was forced to take over and later dissolve), and another FDIC lawsuit against Minor for having defaulted on a $10.5 million Silverton loan.[10]

Court battle

On August 25, 2010, Judge Edward L. Hogshire signed an arbitration order in which Danielson agreed to pay $4.2 million in damages and $2.2 million in attorneys' fees to Minor. The arbitrator found that Danielson had misrepresented the costs of building the hotel.[11]

On September 1, 2010, Minor filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. [12] The filing stayed all pending lawsuits which by then included the suit between Danielson and Minor, the FDIC lawsuit against Minor, and lawsuits against Minor filed by Merrill Lynch, Sotheby's, and Christies.[13]

The Charlottesville government refused to provide financial assistance to complete the hotel, unlike the development assistance provided to the Omni Hotel in the 1970s. [14]

Project taken from Minor

In January 2011, a Georgia court awarded the project to Specialty Finance Group following a long legal dispute. [15]

On December 5, 2011, a Charlottesville Circuit Court judge ruled that the first debt that Minor must repay is more than $128,000 in back taxes to the city of Charlottesville. Next, Minor must pay Clancy & Theys Construction, other construction firms and then Specialty Finance Group. [16]


On June 18, 2012, three companies bid on the property. They were Deerfield Square Associates, J.B. McKimmon and TRT Holdings, Inc. [17] Each submitted an opening bid of at least $3 million and a $200,000 cash deposit.

Danielson submitted a bid but he was rejected because of an inability to guarantee to pay.

Dewberry Capital, associated with Deerfield Square Associates, won the auction with a $6.25 million bid. [1]

Spot blight

After nearly four years of being abandoned, in the Fall of 2013 the city of Charlottesville served Dewberry with a letter requesting he secure the property against vandalism and grafitti. Dewberry responded by saying he had done enough.[18] Dewberry has stated he will complete the project after another hotel is completed in Charleston, South Carolina. [19] That project is redevelopment of the former L. Mendel Rivers Federal Building into a 155-room hotel. That is expected to be open between December 2015 and February 2016. [20] However, the project may not open until spring 2016. [2]

On January 14, 2014, the Charlottesville Planning Commission voted 7-0 to require Dewberry to secure the property and to require a structural integrity report to be completed within ninety days.[19][21] In response, Dewberry secured the building with plywood barriers, installed a taller fence and blocked open stairwells-- but no progress on new construction is expected until at least 2016.[22]


Coordinates:Erioll world.svg.png 38°01′48″N 78°28′51″W / 38.030127°N 78.480761°W / 38.030127; -78.480761


  • November 15, 2007: Minor Family Hotels LLC and Hotel Charlottesville LLC enter into a development agreement
  • April 19-23, 2010: Parties hold arbitration meetings at which 8 witnesses testify and thousands of documents are introduced into the record[23]
  • August 25, 2010: Judge Hogshire signs the arbitration award
  • January 19, 2011: Fulton County State Court in Georgia awards assets of project to Specialty Finance Group [15]
  • June 18, 2012: Auction in U.S. District Court won by Dewberry Capital
  • January 14, 2014: Planning Commission votes 7-0 to require building to be secured, structural report


  1. 1.0 1.1 Web. Dewberry Capital Wins Landmark Hotel for $6.25 M, Matt Telhelm, NBC29 News, June 18, 2012, retrieved June 18, 2012.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Web. Ryan Casey Joins The Dewberry and Other New Details on the Upcoming Hotel [Updated], Erin Perkins, November 13, 2015, retrieved November 16, 2015.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Danielson, Minor break ground on ‘Landmark’ Dave McNair, The Hook, March 11 2008, retrieved 26 Aug 2009.
  4. 4.0 4.1 ONARCHITECTURE- Bright idea: Danielson's Beacon's back in town, Dave McNair, The Hook, March 1, 2007, retrieved 26 Aug 2009.
  5. Landmark Hotel developer given permission to take down black granite facade, Sean Tubbs, Charlottesville Tomorrow, October 22, 2008, retreived 26 Aug. 2009
  6. In response to the 2008-09 recession when construction financing suddenly dried up, developers persuaded the Virginia legislature to extend all existing plat and plan approvals until 2017.
  7. New Details about New Luxury Hotel, Joanna Shrewsbury, NBC 29, March 11 2008, retrieved 26 Aug 2009.
  8. Landmark letdown: Hotel project’s lender folds, Lindsay Barnes, The Hook, May 1 2009, retrieved 26 Aug 2009.
  9. Landmark Hotel developer fired Brian McNeill, Daily Progress, December 6, 2008, retrieved 26 Aug 2009.
  10. Web. FDIC sues bank that financed Landmark Hotel - C-VILLE WeeklyC-VILLE Weekly, Chiara Canzi, August 24, 2011, retrieved October 25, 2015.
  11. Web. Judge Confirms Award in Heated Landmark Hotel Battle, Kates, Tasha, Daily Progress, World Media Enterprises, 25 Aug. 2010, retrieved 26 Aug. 2010..
  12. {{cite-cville|author=Chianzi, Chiara|title=C-Ville: Development - Landmark Hotel Owner Files for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy|publishdate=7 Sept. 2010|accessdate=November 3, 2014|url=}
  13. Web. Landmark showdown: Minor, Danielson begin court fight, Lindsay Barnes III, March 13, 21009, retrieved October 25, 2015.
  14. Web. Minor Asks City for Help with Landmark Hotel, Henry Graff,, Aug 12, 2011
  15. 15.0 15.1 Web. Minor: 'Travesty of justice' on Landmark ruling, Daily Progress, World Media Enterprises, January 21, 2011, retrieved January 24, 2011.
  16. Web., Samantha Koon, Daily Progress, World Media Enterprises, December 7, 2011, retrieved December 8, 2011.
  17. Web. Three bidders for Landmark Hotel emerge, Samantha Koon, Daily Progress, World Media Enterprises, June 14, 2012, retrieved June 15, 2012.
  18. Web. Developer Dewberry fires back over city's demands to secure former Landmark siteC-VILLE Weekly, Graelyn Brashear, Ocotber 30, 2013, retrieved October 24, 2015.
  19. 19.0 19.1 Web. Charlottesville officials set Planning Commission date on Landmark, Staff reports, Daily Progress, World Media Enterprises, December 5, 2013, retrieved December 6, 2013.
  20. Web. The Fat Radish's Ben Towill will develop new hotel restaurant, Kinsey Gidick, Charleston City Paper, April 13, 2015, retrieved April 14, 2015.
  21. Web. Landmark’s last stand? More security, structural reports called for, Graelyn Brashear, C-VILLE Weekly, Portico Publications, January 22, 2014, retrieved January 22, 2013. Print. January 22, 2014 .
  22. Web. Construction on Landmark Hotel might not resume till 2016 - The Daily Progress: Local, Chris Suarez, April 18, 2105, retrieved October 24, 2015.
  23. Shumener, Betty M., Henry H. Oh, and John D. Spurling. "Re: Minor Family Hotels, LLC vs Hotel Charlottesville." Letter to C. Connor Crook, Esquire, Boyle, Bain, Reback & Slayton. 28 June 2010. Charlottesville Tomorrow's Document Archive. Web. 2 July 2010. <>

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