A building that has stood along Richmond Road since 1964 will soon be demolished.
Williamsburg’s Economic Development Authority voted unanimously at its Wednesday meeting to approve a demolition grant application submitted by the owners of the former Days Inn on Richmond Road.
The Days Inn, sandwiched between Red Lobster and the Hampton Inn and Suites, ceased operation four years ago and has been vacant since.
The application was submitted by Ratnam Patel and RVP Associates LLC, owner of the vacant motel.
“During these past 4 years the property was marketed for sale. Our goal, our intention was that an investor would demo[lish] the building and build anew. There were no buyers,” Patel wrote in his application, which was provided in meeting documents. “The message we continually heard from the many commercial brokers and industry professionals was that a vacant pad would find greater interest thus leading ultimately to redevelopment.”
Patel’s application is the first to be approved through the EDA’s Demolition Grant Program, which was created in the summer of 2016, according to Economic Director Michele Mixner DeWitt.
Patel submitted the application in order to obtain $133,434 in financial compensation from the EDA for the demolition of the motel building as indicated by the meeting agenda.
The program exists to allow for the demolition of underused commercial properties, according to the grant’s online application.
“We want to see aging properties that have great retail and business potential on main business corridors see a renovation and a new life,” said EDA Chair Adam Steely. “If we get the lot cleared and that entices someone to build a thriving business on Richmond Road, that generates retail and meals tax for decades to come, it’s a no-brainer decision.”
According to meeting documents, the grant covers 90 percent of the low bid submitted by demolition contractors. The low bid for the Days Inn demolition was $148,260 submitted by WACO, Inc.
Prior to the Demolition Grant Program, a similar program had existed which offered loans instead of grants for demolition projects. DeWitt said that the loan program was discontinued in favor of the grant program, because those owners who wanted to apply for loans already had done so.
She added that loans favored owners who intended to keep their properties, while the grant program helps owners sell properties.
“When the EDA approved changing our program from a loan to a grant, this was one of the properties that had come to us requesting that change,” said DeWitt.