Minor Asks City for Help with Landmark Hotel
Halsey Minor and the unfinished Landmark Hotel are back in the spotlight. Minor has asked Charlottesville City Hall for financial help. Minor says that he asked the city for anything, no matter how small or token, but the city has said no.
It stands in the heart of downtown Charlottesville - the unfinished Landmark Hotel has been nothing short of an eyesore since work stopped on the project in March of 2009.
Charlottesville Mayor Dave Norris said, "We'd like to see the hotel get finished. We know there is private sector interest."
And that is why Mayor Dave Norris says the city will not get into the hotel business.
Financier Halsey Minor has asked City Hall for financial help to continue work on the building. Minor was even looking for a partnership with the city to get the work done.
Satyendra Huja of Charlottesville City Council stated, "It's not a very good idea for the city to get into the hotel business, unless you have to."
But the city did get into the hotel game back in the 1970s, an urban renewal project for the Vinegar Hill Neighborhood funneled millions of taxpayer dollars toward a Radisson Hotel on the west end of the downtown mall, it's now the Omni.
Huja said, "It was a vacant land sitting there for the last 20 years. We found that we needed to invest in that because it was a public project."
Mayor Norris hopes Minor can work out a deal with other developers.
But in an e-mail to us Minor claims that negative comments, "...now scare developers, banks, investors, etc., looking at the project." (See Minor's full email below).
Norris said, "I've been approached, others have been approached in the city, from developers and others who have said we want to be part of a solution that gets this project done."
Separate from all of this is a hearing set for the first week in December in Charlottesville Circuit Court. There are several people who claim Minor owes them money and they want it. The city says Minor owes them almost $85,000 in real estate taxes.
From: Halsey Minor
To: Henry Graff
Sent: Friday, August 12, 2011 2:26 PM
Subject: Re: NBC29 Story
The city of Charlottesville has offered no help at all. They have not even offered to write to the FDIC who would not even speak to me for 1.5 years and is back doing the same thing. On Monday I am calling Governor Warners office since the FDIC has now spent $5.5 mm in taxpayer money on lawyers on a $10 mm loan (me $7.0 mm for a total of over $12 mm all for a failed bank). There is no oversight at the FDIC and this law firm is bilking taxpayers and never wants this to end. 3 years and they still hold they loan and their is litigation! This is a frigging record for the FDIC for holding a loan.
I asked the city for anything, no matter how small or token to make up for the negative comments made about the project early on when the city didn't understand that when banks fail (and Lee Danielson is your developer) construction stops even if Halsey Minor is the owner. Those comments now scare developers, banks, investors, etc, etc looking at the project.
The city wants something for nothing. I told the city that the new mall going in on 29 is their death star. I regularly go to life style malls like the Grove in LA which is like the downtown mall only clean, high end retailers, fountains and trains for kids and valet parking. The have no interest in seeing economic development happen and this new mall is going to take the center of gravity that has been building downtown and shift it 3 miles away into the county.
I told the city I have never been so proud to be an American particularly as a business person. The true national debt is $63 trillion. Our sovereign debt has been downgraded as a nation below france. Last time that happened I geuss you have to go back to around the time of the revolutionary war. Banks wont lend a dime but have consumed massive amounts of taxpayer money (while screwing people non stop and with impunity). Their is no growth.
And here locally everyone stands around blaming someone hoping that a miracle will happen. I have news for the city counsel and the mayor. Their is no Santa Clause. If you do nothing you get nothing. They are in a race with the new mall and I am sure they have never even gone to a life style type mall to see just how competitive it will be. Most of them are unlike me and my friends. They are just passing through town grabbing a little taste of power. The reversal at the mall won't matter when they move to Northern Virginia. The future unfortunately belongs to those who will still be here and who truly care as a result.
I am all for replacing all uncreative do nothing politicians now and starting over, and I am sure 80% of people are with me and the other 20% are simply too disgusted to care. What a mess!!!!
Minor Studios, llc