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A dilapidated motel in one of the City of Williamsburg’s commercial hubs will be demolished.
City Council voted to allow City Manager Marvin Collins to finalize the contract to buy the Super 8 Motel, built in 1963 and located at 1233 Richmond Road near the Richmond Road-Monticello Avenue-Lafayette Street intersection in Midtown.
The city has agreed to pay $2,450,000 – a down payment of $50,000 is included in that total – to the current owner, Progressive Hospitality Inc. With 60 days to look for any defects in the title or problems with the property, a closing date is likely to be scheduled in the beginning of April.
As of fiscal 2016, the property is assessed at $773,300.
Though City Council has not yet approved tearing down the motel, demolition is the current plan to better shape the .77-acre parcel for redevelopment.
“That building as a motel has probably seen its peak,” Councilman Doug Pons said. “The city stepping in, given that we have the wherewithal to step in and ultimately demolish this site, will provide for future redevelopment in a way that the city can see benefits for the next 30, 40 years.”
Like Williamsburg’s recent hotel purchases along Capitol Landing Road, the city will look for opportunities to redevelop the property after demolition, which may include selling to a developer.
City Council voted 5-0 to approve the purchase, with council members noting action to transform that particular piece of property is long overdue.
“I’ve heard more citizen comment about this parcel than any other in the city,” Councilman Scott Foster said. “In fact, it’s probably the most recurring comment that I receive, so this is a timely move.”
Vice Mayor Paul Freiling said the decision to buy the property is not only in line with the city’s Goals, Initiatives and Outlines document because of the city’s priority on redevelopment in Midtown, but it is also in line with the Economic Development Authority’s strategic plan.
“Purchasing properties in areas we’ve identified for redevelopment is always on our radar because it’s part of our [GIOs], and the city was certainly motivated to make this particular purchase to help accelerate redevelopment in Midtown with the Williamsburg Shopping Center for sale across the street,” Michele DeWitt, the city’s economic development director, said in an interview with WYDaily.
DeWitt said City Council identified redevelopment of the Midtown area as “far and away the highest priority” during its August retreat regarding the GIOs.
Though the city has not fully developed a specific plan for the type of development that should occur on the Super 8 parcel, council and staff want to make sure Midtown remains a commercial hub while transforming it into a better gateway to downtown and the Arts District.
The city also hopes the demolition will help prospective developers for the Williamsburg Shopping Center see the potential for that corridor, DeWitt said.
The Super 8 acquisition is the latest in a string of motel and hotel purchases by the city, the latest in February 2015 when the city bought the White Lion Hotel and the Country Hearth Inn – both on Capitol Landing Road – for the purposes of redevelopment. Both properties have since been demolished.
In June 2014, the city announced the sale of another motel it had purchased years before – Lord Paget Motel on Capitol Landing Road – to Sperryville-based Copper Fox Distillery, which is currently renovating the property for its operations.
In 2007, the city bought and demolished the Tioga Motel. The land remains city property.
“We are not necessarily targeting hotels,” DeWitt said. “It’s just the cycle of the market right now. The city has a lot of hotels that were built decades ago that have now lived their life, so we need to turn those around for the city.”
Super 8’s management has discretion of when within the next 60 days the motel will cease operations, said Lee Ann Hartmann, the city’s communications specialist.
The city’s Housing and Human Services Department has a plan in place for any motel guests who need help relocating. Anyone in need of the department’s services can call 220-3477.