In brief: Payne, Ross outta here, Woodriff buying arena and more

Susan Payne. Photo: Jackson Smith Susan Payne. Photo: Jackson Smith

Payne, Ross closing

When politicians need flack assistance stat, there’s one number they call: Payne, Ross and Associates. And around the beginning of the new year, Charlottesville’s public relations institution will close its doors after almost 35 years. “It’s a new vision,” says principal Susan Payne. Partner Lisa Ross Moorefield says the closing is a mutual decision, and she’ll be “exploring less structured options.”

Woodriff confirms arena deal

Hedge fund founder Jaffray Woodriff is buying the Main Street Arena, as previously reported by C-VILLE. Attorney Valerie Long says, “Our client is now the purchaser of the ice park for an entity he’s involved with.” His QIM firm is not involved in the deal, and he is not ready to talk about whether there will be an ice park in another location, says Long.

Courtesy UVA

R.I.P. Sydney Blair

Beloved UVA creative writing prof Sydney Blair, 67, died unexpectedly December 12 after being hospitalized for pancreatitis. She joined the faculty in 1986, won the Virginia Prize for Fiction for her novel Buffalo in 1991 and wrote many stories, articles and reviews for journals.

Why it’s not paying for West Main

UVA generates $4.8 billion in economic activity in this region, according to a recent study. The university has been cool to city suggestions that it pitch in on the West Main streetscape project, saying it already significantly contributes to the local economy. UVA doesn’t pay Charlottesville property taxes.

Albemarle County Executive Tom Foley says the good news about an otherwise grim budget is that no one gets laid off and county employees get a raise. Staff photo
Tom Foley. Staff photo

County exec wanted

Albemarle’s Tom Foley is riding into the sunset, er, to Stafford County, to be head administrator there. Foley started in Albemarle in 1999, and succeeded Bob Tucker as county exec in 2011.

Day in the sun

Solar Panel 2 by Dominion“The sun is my almighty physician,” once said the ubiquitous Thomas Jefferson.

In a small room at UVA on December 6, packed wall-to-wall with people eager to celebrate the installation of 1,589 solar panels on university rooftops, President of Dominion Virginia Power Bob Blue said, “I’m not exactly sure what he meant by that.” But what he does know is that UVA is one of 10 groups participating in Dominion’s Solar Partnership Program, and once all the panels are installed atop Ruffner Hall and the University Bookstore, they will generate 364 kilowatts of energy—or enough to power 91 homes.

Bright future

  • 965 panels, which could power the equivalent of 52 homes, are already installed
  • Students and Dominion will study the energy pumped back into UVA’s grid
  • The school’s 2008 Delta Force sustainability program reduced energy usage in 37 buildings, saving $22 million in energy costs so far

Steak of America

The Downtown Mall will be Bank of America-less, but will have another steakhouse. Staff photoWhen Bank of America closes its branch doors downtown in February, it leaves a grand 1916 building in its wake that will house a steakhouse, according to building owner Hunter Craig. And while he declined to identify the grilled-meat purveyor, he did say it would be locally owned, not a national chain.

Also inhabiting 300 E. Main St., which began as Peoples Bank and during its 100-year history has morphed into Virginia National Bank, Sovran Bank and NationsBank before Bank of America, will be…another bank. “Not Virginia National Bank,” specified Craig, who sits on the VNB board of directors.

Other as-yet-undisclosed tenants will lease office space in the building.

Quote of the week

“Plaintiff threatens to set a dangerous precedent for news organizations and those who rely upon them for accurate up-to-the-minute news throughout the country.”—Brief filed by eight news organizations in support of Rolling Stone’s motion to overturn Nicole Eramo’s $3 million judgment

Correction 12/19: Sydney Blair’s age and date of death were both wrong in the original version.

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