New renderings for Springhill Suites and TownePlace Suites building Credit: Credit: Olive Architecture

A five-story hotel proposed for U.S. 29 near Greenbrier Drive in Albemarle County has cleared a hurdle.

The Albemarle Architectural Review Board voted 4-0 Monday to grant a certificate of appropriateness for a 192-room building that would be split between two Marriott-branded hotel franchises.

“This is going to be an enormously prominent building,” said ARB member Bruce Wardell. “This thing is going to be the biggest building coming into the corridor all the way down.”

The panel also approved the design for a new Bojangles’ next to the Target in the Hollymead Town Center, as well as an initial plan for new buildings at the Better Living Building Supply complex on U.S. 29.

The new hotel would be built on a 3.7-acre site currently occupied by the Flaming Wok & Teppan Yaki restaurant, Dodson Glass and an abandoned building. All will be demolished to make way for the new structure.

The project is being developed by Daly Seven, a Danville-based hotel management and development company.

The structure will hold two different chains. One is Springhill Suites, which is marketed for business travelers. The other, TownePlace Suites, is for extended stays as rooms have kitchenettes.

“They actually each have a separate lobby but there are some shared elements such as the back-of-house areas, shared guest laundry and a shared swimming pool,” said Mark Dowdy, a project manager with Daly Seven.

The hotel project will next go before the Albemarle Planning Commission on Aug. 23 for consideration of a special-use permit for both the hotel use and a parking structure.

The height of the building is allowed by-right, but the developers also asking are for a special exception from a rule that would require the fourth and fifth stories to be set back 15 feet.

Wardell pointed out that the building will seem quite tall from the nearby Fairfield Inn & Suites, another Marriott-branded hotel.

“It’s a big building on a tall site above a very low area where you have the Toys-R-Us and the Applebee’s,” Wardell said, adding that he hoped the façade details could mitigate the impact of the height.

ARB member Chuck Lebo pointed out that the DoubleTree Hotel and the Hyatt Place are two other tall hotel buildings located within the county along the corridor.

The ARB’s action indicates it does not object to the hotel use or the parking structure. The panel will have the opportunity to review building materials in the future.

The ARB also granted preliminary approval for a request from Better Living Building Supply.

“This is a proposal to construct a building for building supply sales, furniture sales and office uses in a large warehouse, as well as three smaller buildings for storage,” said Margaret Maliszewski, historic-preservation planner for Albemarle County.

“If it is visible from the entrance corridor, the outdoor storage, display or sales areas require a special-use permit,” she said, adding that staff said they would indeed be visible.

Justin Shimp, a civil engineer working on the project, said the business could not be made invisible.

“We are up on a hill and we realize we are going to be seen,” Shimp said. “That’s not such a bad thing for us.”

ARB members said they thought the structures could be hidden somehow.

“I think it’s about appropriate screening on the northeast side,” said ARB member Stan Busted.

“The bottom line is that we’re comfortable that we think the storage area will be not be visible from the entrance corridor,” said Fred Missel, chairman of the ARB. That means it will not need a special-use permit from the Board of Supervisors.

The ARB voted 4-0 to approve the initial site development plan but the project will need to come back for a final review.

“It sounds like, based on what we heard, we have a path forward on these issues,” Shimp said.

The ARB also granted approval for a new Bojangles’ to be located on the western side of U.S. 29 adjacent to the Target in the Hollymead Town Center. The restaurant would be 3,808 square feet with a drive-thru window.

The project previously went before the ARB but the developer deferred due to questions about the placement of the drive-thru lane and how the structure’s placement would relate to a nearby stormwater retention pond.

The Hollymead Bojangles’ has the same design as the one on Pantops. The blueprints were altered from the company’s usual style to meet the county’s design guidelines.

The project will not need a special-use permit for the drive-thru window, as the Board of Supervisors adopted a rezoning in March that eliminated the need for a permit for such windows.
 

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