In brief: Major demolition, pruning presidential grapes and more

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Fate of the Republic

The 1980s Republic Plaza on West Main has been brought to its knees over the past month to make way for luxury student apartments. By Christmas, a claw had relentlessly chomped away its top two floors. In its place will be The Standard, a six-story, mixed-use structure with 189 apartments and a 499-space parking garage.

More tweetstorm fallout

Wes Bellamy. Photo: Mina Pirasteh
Photo: Mina Pirasteh

Beleaguered Bellamy resigned from his teaching job December 26 after going on leave November 29 when a  local blogger dug up vulgar tweets Bellamy made between 2009 and 2014 before being elected to City Council. Signatures are now being collected for a petition to remove Bellamy from City Council. Luckily for the vice mayor, Virginia does not make it easy to remove elected officials.

Turner turnaround

Dr. Rick Turner, president of the Albemarle-Charlottesville Chapter of the NAACP, addresses the crowd at last week’s rally in remembrance of Trayvon Martin. Photo: Annalee Grant
Dr. Rick Turner addressed the crowd at a rally in remembrance of Trayvon Martin. Photo: Annalee Grant

Little more than a month ago, Rick Turner fended off a challenge to his presidency of the Albemarle Charlottesville NAACP, a position he’s held for 12 years, and accused some white members of “deviousness.” He says he’ll resign December 31. “Now is the time for new and vibrant leadership!” he says in a December 20 release.

Trump’s migrant workers

Donald Trump has tweeted his objections about the affirmation that must be signed to vote in Virginia's March 1 Republican primary. Photo: Amanda Maglione
Photo: Amanda Maglione

BuzzFeed reports Trump Vineyard Estates applied for six H-2 visas to bring in foreign workers to prune grapevines for $10.72 an hour. Workers are provided lodging at no cost, must be able to bend over for long periods, work in weather as cold as 10 degrees and lift up to 60 pounds, according to the application.

City staff swelling

Charlottesville hired its first redevelopment manager: Brenda Kelley from Clarksville, Tennessee. And at its last meeting of the year December 19, City Council discussed whether it should hire a city architect and a person dedicated to the arts community, according to Charlottesville Tomorrow.

Good look at William Taylor Plaza

On December 20, the Board of Architectural Review approved most exterior design plans for a new 120,000-square-foot plaza located at the corner of Cherry Avenue and Ridge Street and named after—you guessed it—colonial landowner William Taylor. The board did, however, ask developers to revisit paint color options for the back of the building and said the rustic-looking garden element in front isn’t in line with the rest of the design. The plaza will be built in two phases: The first will include a Fairfield Inn by Marriott, and the second will include apartments and condos.

Quote of the Week: “I’m not leaving nor am I going anywhere, just starting a new chapter. We all need to use this time to think about how we heal, how we band together as a community, and how we create solutions to the issues in this community.” —Vice-Mayor Wes Bellamy in his statement announcing his resignation Monday as a teacher at Albemarle High

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