Danielson’s out; Kuttner grabs Boxer building

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Two years ago, Kuttner, after several squabbles with City officials, announced he'd stop building in Charlottesville.

In a deal that might bring activity to a long-shuttered space on the Downtown Mall, sources report that Oliver Kuttner has nabbed the Central Fidelity Bank building, which more recently served as the Boxer Learning headquarters.

Kuttner confirms he signed a contract worth $3.7 million on Wednesday, May 3, putting an end to Lee Danielson's plans for a nine-story beacon-topped hotel.

Kuttner says, unlike Danielson, that he plans to keep the original building– whose 22,000 feet of space stretch along Second Street SE from the Mall to Water Street– and simply renovate the interior for retail and restaurant space. Longer term, he says he'd consider erecting a hotel tower on part of the site.

Proposed two years ago by developer Lee Danielson, the so-called "Hotel Charlottesville" was designed by the architect of California's famed Hotel del Coronado and won Board of Architectural Review approval for an exotic light atop its nine-story tower. Contacted by email, Danielson did not immediately reply.

file photo by Spencer
Lee Danielson's proposed hotel, center, would have cast a shimmering light toward the equally tall Wachovia tower.

Kuttner, who frequently sparred with BAR and other Charlottesville officials over his plans, claims that Lynchburg is friendlier to creative ideas. They're certainly friendly when it comes to empty buildings.

In 2004, he paid $1 to that city's government to buy a crumbling warehouse. Since then, he says he has stepped up his efforts by accumlating 700,000 square feet of buildings in Lynchburg's central business district.

Kuttner is known as a frequent driver and co-owner of a Charlottesville-to-New York direct bus service called the Starlight Express.

Kuttner says he bought his first Charlottesville property– the former Young Men's Shop building- with just $25,000 down and says he found the cash to buy the Boxer building by recently selling his "Downtown Tire" complex of storefronts and parking lots along with several condominiums in Lewis & Clark Square.

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1 comment

So this Mr. Kuttner, he tried to check out, but he could never leave?