Charlottesville Breaking News

$22/foot: Hospital campus sold for just $6.5 million

cover-pedbridge-locustThe Martha Jefferson Sanatorium was chartered in 1903 and opened on the site the following year. FILE PHOTO BY WILL WALKER

The soon-to-vacated North Downtown campus of Martha Jefferson Hospital has been sold to the developer of the Gleason condo complex with a price–- $6.5 million–- that appears smaller than other downtown deals. But a pair of local investors don't smell any sweetheart dealing.

"It does sound cheap," says realtor Roger Voisinet. "But on the other hand, there are some daunting expenses to convert it."

Voisinet notes that making it an assisted-living facility would probably entail the lowest conversion cost, but he wasn't sure whether there's a market for another one of those in town. And Developer Richard Spurzem notes that just holding such a mammoth place can chew up resources.

"It's a huge amount of land," says Spurzem. "You gotta heat it and keep security when it's vacant."

The buyer, Octagon Partners, appears to be getting 8.113...

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Kuttner conquers: Oliver's Edison2 car wins $5 million X Prize

news-kuttneredison2carwinsKuttner (fourth from left) and team designed a car weighing 830 pounds. YOUTUBE VIDEO

Oliver Kuttner, the Charlottesville real estate developer turned automotive developer, has won the $5 million top prize in the Progressive Automotive X Prize, it was announced Thursday morning, September 16. His Edison2 team's winning vehicle, a four-seater called the Very Light Car, reportedly gets 102 miles per gallon of fuel and could, Kuttner hopes, reshape the automotive industry.

Kuttner's quest was the subject of the Hook’s June 17 cover story.

Accolades have begun streaming in. There was a celebratory party hosted by Arianna Huffington, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi spoke at the September 16 victory ceremony held outside the Historical Society of Washington D....

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Before Bel Rio: Jim Baldi and the death of Boheme

dish-papayanisandbaldi"First it was Clive, then it was Jim, who I'd known for 20 years," says Boheme owner Tom Fussell, of his former chef, Clive Papayanis (left), who has been charged with embezzling from the restaurant, and Jim Baldi, who Fussell says also stole from the restaurant immediately before it closed in 2008. MUGSHOT COURTESY ACRJ/FILE PHOTO BY DAVE MCNAIR

The recent news that embattled Bel Rio owner Jim Baldi has disappeared and left authorities in hot pursuit over allegedly widespread financial shenanigans comes as no shock to Tom Fussell.  The owner of the now defunct Bohšme restaurant on East Market Street, Fussell blames Baldi for Boheme's failure and contends that had authorities arrested Baldi in 2008, the ensuing Bel Rio debacle might never have happened.

In July, Baldi took center stage in a ...

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Standing by Mann: Small but punchy protest blasts Cuccinelli's 'climategate' inquest

news-globalwarm-protest-mcelveenProtest organizer Ryan McElveen, who enters a master's program at Columbia this fall, meets the press. PHOTO BY HAWES SPENCER

As global temperatures rise, so does Charlottesville's profile in a worldwide debate. Two events last Friday highlighted the anger and frustration felt on both sides as Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli continues his quest to peek at the early musings of Michael Mann, the former UVA climate professor and creator of the doomsday-invoking "hockey stick graph."

"Ken Cuccinelli wants to take away the most precious things we can leave to the next generation: a healthy environment and a healthy and strong university. Don't let the history books read, 'When climate scientist Michael Mann was ignored, the planet burned up.'"

So said Ryan McElveen. The 2008 UVA graduate had been hopin...

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Tale of Woe: The death of the VQR's Kevin Morrissey

On John Casteen’s last official day in office as the president of the University of Virginia, a tragic story, one fit for the pages of the award-winning literary journal that he nurtured, began to unfold.

That Friday, July 30, the managing editor of the Virginia Quarterly Review, 52-year-old Kevin Morrissey, took his own life. Since then, UVA has shrouded VQR behind a wall of silence, changing the office locks, launching an audit, and even routing all incoming telephone calls to the University's public relations office.

A Hook investigation reveals that behind the staid, Thomas Jefferson-designed exterior of VQR's headquarters swirl allegations of financial recklessness, conflicts of interest, and a bizarre pattern of management-by-email that drove a staffer to quit. Some say there was also a pattern of bullying that may have pushed a fragile man into tragic oblivion.

What’s more, according to a former VQR employee, University officials have known about some of the personnel problems for at least five years.

An ambitious editor

A group called the Workplace Bullying Institute minces no words about the situation, suggesting that Morrissey's boss, VQR editor Theodore H. "Ted" Genoways was a bully and that UVA was "unresponsive." But if Genoways has been cast as the problem, he also appears to be a key source of VQR's success.

Hired in 2003 at...

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