Charlottesville Breaking News

Extended stay: Hotel planned for Regal Seminole property

Although recent hostelries, such as the Marriott at West Main and Ridge or the Landmark on the Downtown Mall, have stalled, the odds for a Homewood Suites on the Regal Cinema property at Seminole Square seem much better.

For one, a hotel is already a by-right use for the 6.5-acre parcel. That means no rezoning or special use permits, which always slow development projects down.

And because it's located behind Kmart on India Road and not directly in an entrance corridor, new owners Heritage Hospitality Management of Staunton don't even need to go before the Board of Architectural Review, according to city planner Michael Smith.

The property has long been in the path of the Hillsdale Drive Connector, which was supposed to slice through the theaters of the previous occupant, Regal Seminole Square.

Regal shut its doors at that location late last year when the glitzy new Regal Stonefield 14 opened across U.S. 29.

Heritage Hospitality Management already has a foothold in Charlottesville with the Hilton Garden Inn on U.S. 250 east. Extended stay Homewood Suites is another Hilton brand.

Plans filed with the city show a four-story, 149-room hotel comprising 1.1 million feet. Heritage Hospitality paid $3.25 million for the property, which is assessed at $4 million.

It's across the street from the Hampton Inn.

"We don't have a comment until we have a comment," says Heritage partner Scott Goldenberg. The company and extended-...

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Board dreams: Skatepark makes post-Parkway plans

The Rotunda, the Corner and the Lawn may conjure instant images of Jeffersonian architecture, but if a group of local skateboard enthusiasts have their way, those UVA classics will also provide inspiration for a new and expanded Charlottesville skatepark.

 

when the current location at the corner of Route 250 and McIntire Road is forced to relocate when construction of the city's portion of McIntire parkway begins, possibly as early as summer 2012.

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Board dreams: Skatepark makes post-Parkway plans

The Rotunda, the Corner and the Lawn may conjure instant images of Jeffersonian architecture, but if a group of local skateboard enthusiasts have their way, those UVA classics will also provide inspiration for a new and expanded Charlottesville skatepark.

 

when the current location at the corner of Route 250 and McIntire Road is forced to relocate when construction of the city's portion of McIntire parkway begins, possibly as early as summer 2012.

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Going coastal: And like a bad neighbor...

By PATRICK CLARK

In 1938, when storm-watchers gave hurricanes names fit for railroad lines, the Great New England formed off Africa's western coast, hurtled across the Atlantic and turned north, making landfall in Central Long Island.

Winds as fast as 130 miles per hour blew across the peninsula, sweeping a Westhampton movie theater out to sea, toppling the tallest building in Sag Harbor and turning Montauk into an island. In Manhattan, streets three blocks inland from the East River flooded, and the Empire State Building is said to have swayed. By the time the storm finished cutting through New England and into Canada, some 57,000 homes were destroyed, and as many as 800 lives lost.

When present-day risk experts think about the worst-case scenario for the New York region, they base their assumptions on the Great New England.

That wasn't even a direct hit. 'If you take that storm and put it on the Irene track, then you get multiples and multiples of the damages,' said Karen Clark, the chief executive officer of catastrophe risk firm Karen Clark & Co. and the mother of the catastrophe-modeling industry.

The Great New England cost the insurance industry $35 billion in 2012 dollars, according to Ms. Clark's research. Move a hurricane of the same force through the center of today's Manhattan, and the results are ter...

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Fit to be tried: Crossfit expands, boot camps

When Crossfit Charlottesville opened in the summer of 2009, some questioned whether the high intensity, short workouts focused on "functional fitness," where workouts have names like "Cindy" and "Fran," and adherents use words like "WOD" and "Rx"– was a passing trend. Three years later, the original Crossfit gym is thriving, says its founder, and on November 1, it got some competition with the opening of a new Crossfit location whose owners believe there's plenty of demand to support both businesses.

"We thought we could make a unique environment," says Michael Towne, a former U.S. Marine who opened Solidarity Crossfit in the former Stubblefield Photo space on Harris Avenue with his wife, Becky Tippett.

Unlike other businesses, Crossfit affiliates are under only the loose control by the California-based parent corporation. For a couple thousand dollars, a new gym can use the Crossfit name, and, unlike many other franchises, the parent company puts no restrictions on how many gyms– called "boxes" in Crossfit lingo– can open in a given area.

"You could open three Crossfit gyms next door to each other," notes Crossfit Charlottesville co-owner Kyle Redinger, who sees positive and negative in that policy. "It increases competition, which is good," he notes, "but it also means gym owners may be reticent to invest heavily in expanding, since they have no guarantee of the population size they alone are serving."

Nor do the corporate he...

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