Four-story hotel planned for Monticello Avenue

Charlottesville’s hotel building boom continues.

Plans have been submitted for a 103-room hotel at 201 Monticello Ave. near Ridge Street.

“Our destination is really strong, occupancy-wise, and that’s attractive to developers who feel that there’s a market here for growth,” said Bri Warner, director of sales and marketing for the Charlottesville Albemarle Convention & Visitors Bureau.

An existing structure on the site was built in 1984 and last occupied by the Portico Church. Prior to that, it was the Monticello Event Center.

Planners in the Department of Neighborhood Development Services are reviewing a final site plan for a four-story hotel that would not exceed 50 feet in height.

“We’ve convinced them to take a tower off of one corner,” said city planner Brian Haluska, meaning the structure would be within height limits.

Greenbelt, Maryland-based Baywood Hotels’ website states that the company workw with major franchises such as Marriott, Hilton and Intercontinental Hotels.

An official with the company declined to comment.

Several other hotel projects are also in the Charlottesville development pipeline.

Last year, the City Council granted a special-use permit for the 101-foot-tall Sycamore House Hotel at 1106 W. Main. The final site plan is under review, and Haluska said the project is nearing approval.

“We will begin construction by early summer and plan to be open for business by January of 2018,” said Austin Flajser, president of Carr Hospitality.

In December, the Board of Architectural Review approved a certificate of appropriateness for a Fairfield Inn & Suites at the corner of Cherry Avenue and Ridge Street.

“They are still in the site plan review process and need to make revisions before the site plan can go to [the Planning Commission] for final approval,” said Matt Alfele, the city planner overseeing the review.

A downtown project being developed by Oliver Kuttner also might include hotel rooms, but documents submitted to the city are unclear. Kuttner’s latest plans for the Glass Building call for a nine-story building with 90,000 square feet of office space with either 80 apartment units or 120 hotel rooms.

Kuttner could not be reached for clarification.

Kuttner had sought a special-use permit to exceed the zoned residential density in order to build as many as 233 small apartments. The project stalled after the City Council reviewed it at a meeting last summer.

“They’ve resubmitted a [new] plan and they’ve received comment from our department, so the ball is in their court,” Haluska said.

The Marriott Residence Inn at 301 W. Main St. is expected to be open for business sometime in March. The former Red Roof Inn has been refurbished as the new Graduate Hotel.

And then there’s the unfinished Landmark Hotel on the Downtown Mall.

The City Council adopted a resolution in January directing city staff to determine if any legal action can be taken against developer John Dewberry and to obtain an appraisal for possible purchase by the city.

Altogether, Warner said there are approximately 3,600 rooms in area hotels, inns and bed and breakfasts.

That number includes relatively new hotels such as the Homewood Suites next to Seminole Square in the city and Hyatt Place next to the Shops at Stonefield in Albemarle County. She said she’s still seeing increased demand despite the growing number of rooms.

“The occupancy percentages have stayed strong, around 70 percent, over the past two years,” Warner said.

“I handle requests from groups who are coming to Charlottesville, and it’s not uncommon that at certain times of the year we have to send them away to Waynesboro or even Richmond because we don’t have sufficient rooms,” she said.

The Baywood Hotels property is zoned Downtown Extended, which means a hotel can be built by-right without review by the City Council.

The Board of Architectural Review does not have to approve the demolition because it is not in a design control district.

A preliminary site plan conference for the hotel is scheduled for 10 a.m. March 2 in the NDS conference room at City Hall.