What Petersburg officials plan to do about derelict hotel near I-95: ‘We’re fed up’

PETERSBURG, Va. -- Petersburg Mayor Sam Parham says he and City Council are tired of the lack of progress in renovating the old Ramada Inn, a shuttered hotel between East Washington and Wythe streets, just west of I-95.

On Thursday, CBS 6 reported Petersburg Fire Department and the Fire Marshal's Office responded to the vacant hotel after a citizen spotted a piece of the hotel dangling. Officials said an estimated 24 feet long by 10 feet wide piece eventually fell in some trees below.

Petersburg Fire Marshal Jim Reid even expressed safety concerns about unsecured pieces on the building.

Sam Parham

"We're fed up. We're sick and tired of having this place looking the way that it looks," said Parham.

There is now a massive hole where that dangling piece once hung.

Considered an eyesore at the gateway entrance to the city, Parham says City Council unanimously decided to have code enforcement take the lead and now the developer has been issued a notice of violation.

That developer, Chris Harrison, has been sent a violation notice and if not corrected in 30 days, a criminal summons will be issued.

"Everyone has been telling the city that he's working on it. He's working on it. It's going to be alright. He's gonna get it done. And now look... It's been looking this way for three years," said Parham.

Three years ago the Mayor says Harrison showed up with a "great plan" on how he was going to renovate the hotel. Then 36 months later, a sign out front showed the property would be turned into a 141 room hotel with suites.

"We've got a sign out front saying this is going to happen, but again, you ride by and looks like nothing is happening," said Jennifer Moore, who works nearby.

Parham says he believes the city has no other option than to try any means that will bring change to the building. When asked if he believes the violation notice will make a difference, he said: "It absolutely will."

CBS 6 reached out to the developer, Chris Harrison, but we have not heard back.

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