Boxer/Fidelity building demo to commence

A $350,000 demolition of the former Boxer/Central Fidelity Bank building at 200 East Main on the Downtown Mall is scheduled to begin in a "couple of weeks," according to a representative for Minor Family Hotels, the firm building a 9-story "boutique" hotel on the site. See photo right. Given the history of this hotel idea, which was proposed by developer Lee Danielson in 2004, it's hard to believe it's really going to happen, but according Cliff Harrison, an owner's rep for Minor Family Hotels, it's a done deal. "Yes, it's going to happen," says Harrison. "We'll start by putting up barricades around the site, and then the demo should take about two months." Everything but the black granite facade and eight feet of wall down Second Street is scheduled to be demolished. Harrison says

he expects the full arsenal of demo equipment to be on hand, back-hoes, bulldozers, and wrecking balls. After that, he says the estimated $30 million hotel project should take about 16 months.

Luckily, construction projects don't take as long or are as complicated as finding the money and will to fund them. Since 2000, when Danielson and then partner Colin Rolph bought both the Fidelity bank building and the parking lot they later donated to Live Arts for $1.8 million, the building has been passed around like a hot potato. In fact, the various owners of the building have made nearly $4 million buying and selling it since then. Of course, Danielson has technically purchased the building three times and sold it once. First, he bought it with Rolph and their D & R development company. Then, after an ugly break up with Rolph, a judge ordered that D & R be dissolved and its assets sold off, which included a number of downtown buildings. While a court-appointed receiver was ordered to sell the properties for top dollar, Danielson and Rolph were given first dibs. In 2002, under his Brahm II LLC, Danielson bought the Fidelity building again for $3.3 million. After his attempts to find an investor for his hotel project failed–- Danielson alleged at one time that Coran Capshaw was interested–- Danielson finally sold the building to developer Oliver Kuttner in 2006 for $3.7 million. Kuttner had plans to create offices and apartments, and even began interior demolition, but eventually decided to sell it back to Danielson, who had now found an investor, millionaire Halsey Minor, the founder of CNET, who purchased the building last August under his Minor Family Hotels LLC for $4.5 million. Whew! Compared to all that, building it should be a breeze!

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Is the building currently occupied by CVS a part of this project? I can't tell from the drawing.

Does anyone know of the fate of the Charlottesville mural that once graced the lobby area of this former bank?

I'll believe this when I see it. Even if it does start the current state of the economy will probably halt construction shortly after demolition and we'll get to look at a pile of rubble for years.

I enjoyed the artistic rendition of what the building will look like when completed. The artist forgot a few things. The home-challenged that will probably stick around on the front side, and of course the plethora of smokers that will be there.