Dewberry Capital Wins Landmark Hotel for $6.25M

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The 10-story shell that was supposed to be the Landmark Hotel on Charlottesville's downtown mall has a new owner.  A federal judge auctioned off the property in court Monday morning.

Construction stopped three years ago on the hotel.  A bankruptcy and legal battle began and still aren't over.  But after a bidding battle that lasted less than 10 minutes, that building has a new owner.

Dewberry Capital President & CEO John Dewberry said, "I feel like I'm the second-team quarterback right now.  Everybody likes me now."

Dewberry made a name for himself as a Georgia Tech quarterback.  Now, his name is backing hotels.

"Nobody knows what a Dewberry Hotel is yet," he said.

The Atlanta-based developer outbid another Georgia hotel management company in Charlottesville Federal Court Monday morning to buy the landmark property out of bankruptcy.  Bidding started at $3.5 million and quickly climbed to $6.25 million.

Dewberry said, "The oxygen was getting thin."

Dewberry's company is drawing up plans to turn the 10-story skeleton to a luxury, five-star hotel.  Right now, they're working on the company's first hotel in Charleston, South Carolina.  He describes an ideal design as understated elegance.

"We'd like to be the quintessential property for Charlottesville so you feel like you're in the mountains of Virginia," Dewberry said.

The Waynesboro native is promising progress within a year, after the hotel has sat unfinished since early 2009.

"I have watched the trials and tribulations that have been brought on by this asset," Dewberry said.  "We hope people will be patient."

Pat Dressel knows patience.  She works at Pearl Boutique, in the shadow of the hotel shell. 

"It's just been a complete eyesore.  It's a home for the birds, the pigeons," she said.  "It would definitely change the look.  That's what we're all hoping for, I know that."

Next door, Cha Cha's owner Marla Cantor is ready to construction start again.  "It's exciting," she said.  "Hopefully it'll help with the businesses."

Cantor is ready to see Dewberry's dollars invest in the downtown mall.  "I think it's just nice for the mall - for the face of the mall and for the businesses," she said.

Dewberry tells NBC29 he had actually looked at the old Martha Jefferson Hospital first as a possible hotel site, but decided the Landmark Hotel was a better deal.  He expects design and pricing will take about a year before construction can continue.