What stalled renovations for Petersburg's 'eyesore': 'I'll apologize to the people'

What stalled renovations for Petersburg's 'eyesore': 'I'll apologize to the people'
Posted at 3:30 PM, Jun 10, 2022

RICHMOND, Va. -- The old Ramada Inn was supposed to change the entrance to Petersburg while offering travelers a place to stay.

However, renovations for the hotel stalled years ago. Since then, the building has fallen into disrepair and people have urged for its demolition.

Back in 2016, Chris Harrison believed it would take investing more than $20 million for the site to be transformed.

"I think there's a lot of things that happened behind the scenes in terms of financing and the tourism department and the tourism loan that we couldn't obtain," Harrison said.

As time went on, very little was accomplished.

"It was never my intention to not build the project. You know, we had gone down the road to secure financing and paid commitments on that financing and then things kind of fell apart," Harrison said. "I'll apologize to the people of Petersburg. I'm sorry the project didn't get done."

Coronavirus also played a role in the lack of development.

"Then the pandemic hit and you know, hospitality didn't have any construction going on," Harrison said.

The lack of movement on the project and the disrepair of the building by April 2021 had the city turn to the courts.

Petersburg planned to proceed with court action to try to get the owner to abate and demolish the property.

Just two months later, Petersburg filed a 267-page complaint in the Petersburg Circuit Court for Harrison.

"It was an unfortunate situation that I think was a coming together of some very extenuating circumstances. But you know, we are where we are now and hopefully, we can move forward and resolve the matter in the coming months.

It has now been 68 months since the project was first announced.

"Our hope is that this will be the last year that we'll have that relic of an eyesore towering over the City of Petersburg."

Petersburg Mayor Sam Parham said that he would like to see the building demolished by the end of the year. He added that the city is having good communications with Harrison.



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