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April 18, 2012

Marriot Residence Inn site plan now under review

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DailyProgressBy Courtney Beale
Charlottesville Tomorrow
Wednesday, April 18, 2012

The city of Charlottesville is now reviewing the preliminary site plan for the construction of a new Marriott Residence Inn proposed for the corner of Ridge McIntire and West Main Street.

20120418-WestMainSitePlan2The public voiced few worries about the building’s design during a meeting on Wednesday.

“There have been some concerns regarding the height,” said Willy Thompson, a city neighborhood planner, in an interview.

Thompson stated that the architects have proposed that the building be 70 feet tall, which is the city’s exact limit allowed by-right for the building’s height. 

“If they want to go higher than 70 feet, they would need a special use permit,” Thompson said.

Yet when the plans for the eight-story hotel were first made public, several citizens expressed concerns. The Marriot Residence Inn will be built on a site that is currently home to CityClay, Random Row Books, Cat Thrasher Photography, SweetHaus Cupcakes and other local businesses. 

The entrepreneurs and artists who have businesses there worry that the West Main Street corridor will lose some of its character without the presence of the quaint Random Row Warehouse.

In an effort to maintain the pedestrian feel of the Ridge McIntire/West Main corner, developers have included street level retail spaces along what will be a widened sidewalk. However, widening the sidewalk proved to be a complication for the developers.

City regulations require that certain buildings be built to the edge of the property line. The architects for the hotel wanted the building to be set back from the property line, allowing them to have a wider sidewalk.

“Following a discussion with the city, they agreed that there should be a wider sidewalk there,” said Clark Gathright of Daggett & Grigg Architects.

City staff decided to request a pedestrian easement for the portion of privately owned property that will serve as part of the public sidewalk.

“On paper, it would be part of their property, but in effect it’s just the sidewalk,” Thompson said. “We will have to determine how that part of the sidewalk is maintained.”

Thompson also added that, at this point, no changes were planned for the intersection of Ridge McIntire Road and West Main Street.

Gathright hopes that the finalized plans for the hotel will be submitted to the Charlottesville Board of Architectural Review in May.

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