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Petersburg to discuss city eyesore: 'It’s a disgrace'

Posted at 11:07 AM, Mar 16, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-16 11:08:20-04

PETERSBURG, Va. -- It’s been 55 days since CBS 6 cameras captured an inspection at the old Ramada Inn on E. Washington Street in Petersburg.

In the days since, not much has changed at the property once slated for redevelopment as the Gateway to the City. In fact, city leaders and State Senator Joe Morrissey said owner Chris Harrison has done little since he bought the dilapidated property.

“It’s a disgrace," said Sen. Morrissey (D - Petersburg) said. “Lots of promises, lots of repeated promises and no action."

“Just a complete eyesore," Petersburg business owner Lew Meredith said. "If that’s the Gateway, it needs to go. It doesn’t say 'Welcome to Petersburg' when you come off the interstate."

Petersburg Property Maintenance Official Brad Shupp said he personally found over 140 separate violations in the hotel.

“The report is recommending immediate repair, or the city will take further action with demolition," Shupp said.

Harrison faces criminal and civil penalties over the state of the property.

“The criminal penalties, we have six summons out for him," Shupp said. "We have over $70,000 in civil penalties out for him."

If Harrison doesn’t make the property safe or tear it down himself, Petersburg's mayor said the city will take action.

“At this time, if the building is a public nuisance, we will find resources to take this building down," Mayor Sam Parham said.

The cost of taking down the building could be around $1 million.

Morrissey said he’d work to lower that number.

“Number one, help them find the developer that can take it down as cheaply as possible and number two, work to see how they can pierce the corporate veil and hold the developer responsible for the cost, not Petersburg," Morrissey said.

City Council will discuss the 57-page report during their meeting on Tuesday.