Historic real estate buy, fire on the mountain, and revenge porn: News briefs

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The Rocks Mountain fire burns in Shenandoah National Park on the night of Saturday, March 1. Photo: Joey Tombs The Rocks Mountain fire burns in Shenandoah National Park on the night of Saturday, March 1. Photo: Joey Tombs

Below, find our latest news briefs—several stories we’ve got an eye on. Pick up C-VILLE’s print edition tomorrow and check c-ville.com daily for regular updates.

Spurzem ‘Wades’ in

The already bulging real estate portfolio of developer Richard T. Spurzem just got even bigger with his company’s purchase of 14 student housing buildings from Wade Properties in what is being described as the largest real estate transaction in city history.

According to a press release, Spurzem’s Neighborhood Properties Inc. purchased the properties, including several on Wertland Street and the luxury apartment building at 1029 Wertland, for a price that exceeds the $30.5 million assessed value of the properties.

The transaction makes Spurzem one of the largest property holders in the area with 750 units valued at approximately $100 million, according to the release, and it spells the end of Wade Apartments, which began exiting the market several years ago with the sale of Wertland Square and Jefferson Commons to Education Realty Trust.

Reached by phone, Spurzem declined to name the exact price he paid and said the deal has been in the works since November.

“This is just an investment,” he said. “We’ll keep renovating the historic buildings and the old houses on Wertland Street as they need it.”

Forest fire burns 150 acres in Shenandoah 

A fire burned more than 150 acres of Shenandoah National Park over the weekend before it was contained by firefighters and snuffed out by rain and snow, according to park officials and news reports.

The Rocks Mountain fire—located on the western side of the Skyline Drive about four miles as the crow flies from the Charlottesville Reservoir in Sugar Hollow—was first reported on the afternoon of Friday, February 28, when park personnel assessed it at 70 acres. The Riprap, Wildcat Ridge, and Rocks Mountain trails were closed as 91 firefighters from the National Park Service, USDA Forest Service, Virginia Department of Forestry, and Augusta County Fire and Rescue tackled the blaze for days.

Park officials said Monday the fire had been contained and was deemed safe enough to leave ahead of the storm that dropped rain and four to eight inches of snow across the area. The cause of the fire is still under investigation, and the trails in the burned area will remain closed until further notice.

Bell’s revenge porn bill passes in legislature

A bill sponsored by Albemarle Delegate Rob Bell making the distribution of “revenge porn” a class one misdemeanor has passed in both houses of Virginia’s General Assembly nearly unanimously, and now heads to Governor Terry McAuliffe’s desk for signing.

HB 326 would make it a crime to maliciously post nude images of another “without authority and with the intent to coerce, harass or intimidate the person.” The offense would carry jail time of up to a year.

“Once they’re posted, these photos and videos never go away and can follow someone for the rest of their lives,” said Bell in a press release Sunday. “The only way to protect the victims is to prevent the posting from happening in the first place. There have been entire websites devoted to revenge porn. But even if they are taken down, social media will always provide a way for someone to get these out to the public.”

Bell has acknowledged that the legislation was in part prompted by Albemarle Commonwealth’s Attorney Denise Lunsford’s request for a protective order against an angry ex-lover who admitted to posting photos of her online, though Bell said he never discussed the issue with Lunsford.—C-VILLE writers

  • RandomThoughts

    The Rock Mountain fire for whatever reason is being grossly underestimated on acreage burned.

    450 to 500 acres is more like it .

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