In brief: 5-star dreams, bathroom fears and more

Owner John Dewberry plans to turn the Landmark into a 5-star hotel.
Photo Matteus Frankovich/Skyclad AP Owner John Dewberry plans to turn the Landmark into a 5-star hotel. Photo Matteus Frankovich/Skyclad AP

Unlike NC…

Governor Terry McAuliffe signs an executive order at UVA January 5 that prohibits state contractors from discriminating against gay and transgender people, and notes that the Tar Heel State has lost hundreds of millions of dollars because of its bathroom bill. Delegate Bob Marshall immediately filed a bill prohibiting such nondiscrimination.

Lieutenant guv race gets icky

Bryce Reeves
Bryce Reeves Publicity photo

An anonymous e-mail claiming state Senator Bryce Reeves is having an affair with a campaign aide, which he denies, is tied to the cell phone and IP address of opponent and fellow senator Jill Vogel’s husband, the Washington Post reports. The Vogels, both ethics lawyers, deny sending the hurtful missive and claim they were hacked.

Diantha McKeel
Diantha McKeel. Publicity photo

New BOS chair/vice-chair

The Albemarle Board of Supervisors elected Diantha McKeel chair and Norman Dill vice chair as its first order of business January 4.

Mourning community activist

Holly Edwards was known for bringing different voices in the community together. Photo Kelly Kollar
Holly Edwards was known for bringing different voices in the community together. Photo Kelly Kollar

Charlottesville’s former vice mayor and beloved advocate Holly Edwards died January 7 at age 56. Read more at

Local layoffs

Relay Foods’ January 2 notice that it was changing its name to Door to Door Organics did not mention that 48 workers in Charlottesville would lose their jobs, as would an undetermined number in Richmond, according to the Daily Progress. Service to Lynchburg and North Carolina ends January 15.

Richard V. Curnish. Charlottesville police

Alleged wanker arrested

Police respond to a report of a man masturbating outside the 1800 block of JPA at 12:55am January 4 and charge Richard V. Curnish, 55, with indecent exposure, masturbation in public and peeping. Charlottesville police say Curnish is a suspect in a December 30 peeping reported at the same location.

Snow casualty

Ryan S. Spencer, 40, of Rochelle, was on Preddy Creek Road January 7 when he lost control of his 2010 Cadillac SRX on a sharp curve and struck a parked vehicle belonging to a driver who stopped to assist with an earlier accident in the same spot. Spencer ran off the road and overturned into the creek. He died at UVA Medical Center.

Dewberry dreaming

The city hopes to make a deal with developer John Dewberry in the next few weeks, which means site plans for developing the Landmark Hotel skeleton could be available by spring. Matteus Frankovich/Skyclad AP

“The devil’s in the details and we’re working to get those details right,” says Mayor Mike Signer about plans for the Downtown Mall hotel that could soon transform the Landmark Hotel skeleton, an unfinished structure since its former developer, Halsey Minor, halted construction eight years ago.

Purchased by Atlanta-based John Dewberry in June 2012, the new owner promised to turn his focus to Charlottesville after he finished converting a former office building into his first hotel in Charleston, South Carolina, which didn’t happen until last summer. Signer says the city hopes to make an agreement with Dewberry in the next few weeks, leading to site plans that should be available by spring.

The hotel could bring 150 jobs with it, according to Signer, and would be a wedding and conference venue in the heart of the Downtown Mall. Hotel plans could also include spaces for additional businesses including a restaurant, a spa and retail.

Dewberry, who says he’s “just trying to build a brand named after [his] beloved father” is proud of the distinctions his Charleston hotel has already raked in, including a spot in a New York Times article titled, “For Fall, Seven Notable New Hotels.”

Without a firm timeline, he confirms he’s working with the city to bring the same five-star experience to Charlottesville. “That’s the hardest type of real estate in the world,” he says.

It’s possible that a new Downtown Mall hotel will include a restaurant similar to Henrietta’s, located in The Dewberry Charleston. Photo Jonathan Boncek

Quote of the week

“Do not waste my time. I will veto it so stop in your tracks right now.”
—Governor Terry McAuliffe reiterates his pledge at UVA January 5 to veto “socially divisive” legislation such as a ban on abortions at 20 weeks and bathroom bills like North Carolina’s HB2.

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