A luxury five star hotel is making its way to downtown Charlottesville. Details on the hotel have been slow in coming but now we have a sneak peak of the project we will see unfold during the next 15 months. The multi-million dollar project broke ground this morning.

The groundbreaking was strictly ceremonial but once work starts on the Landmark Hotel, Charlottesville's downtown mall is in for a big change.

Developer Halsey Minor stated, "Charlottesville to me is three places. It's the University of Virginia, it's Monticello, and it's right here in the historic downtown district of Charlottesville."

That is why developers say the mall is a perfect spot for what they hope turns into a focal point for the community. Developer Lee Danielson said, "You'll see a friend and say I'll meet you at the landmark. It will be a landmark for Charlottesville."

So what is the draw? When the doors open you will find nine stories of luxury rooms, fine dining, a garden on the roof, and a design that is unique to its community.

Danielson said, "Charlottesville is about community and our hotel and the boutique concept is about the community. So when you walk in there it's going to be a meeting place that you want to come to."

But before it opens, what is in the location has to come down. A full blown construction site is coming.

Charlottesville Mayor Dave Norris said, "There will be obviously noise but generally speaking it's going to be a short term pain for a long term gain." A gain of a $30 million attraction which Charlottesville city leaders say will bring much more business to the bricks.

Nine stories is as tall as the developers could take the hotel. The city caps buildings at 101 feet. That is the height of the Wachovia Bank across the street. All 101 feet of construction should be wrapped up and ready to open by July 2009.

Reported by Joanna Shrewsbury
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