Downtown apartment, restaurant survive weekend fire


On Sunday afternoon, the Charlottesville Fire Department responded to a small fire on the roof of a Downtown apartment building. After carefully threading a fire engine down the Mall, firemen extinguished the blaze. (And without the assistance of a 10-story ladder, at that.)

The fire began on the roof of 420 E. Main Street, following a party held the previous night. While the local fire marshal was unable to determine the cause, Chief Charles Werner said firefighters spotted dry leaves and cigarette butts in the area of the fire, and identified the items as the “likely cause.”

East Mall LLC, founded by late developer Chuck Lewis, purchased the building in 2003 for nearly $1 million. The site currently hosts retail shops on the bottom floor and apartments upstairs.

The building is next to the former A&N Building, the future site of Alex George’s Commonwealth Restaurant and SkyBar. “I was actually out of town when I heard about it,” says George, the executive chef who previously launched Downtown eateries Just Curry and Cinema Taco . He adds that he hasn’t noticed any damage to his site, nor does he anticipate any setbacks to his restaurant’s construction schedule.