Developer for Petersburg hotel renovation inks deal for North Carolina project

PETERSBURG, Va. -- Petersburg city leaders are speaking out after the developer charged will renovating the old Ramada Inn, a shuttered hotel just west of I-95, has inked another big deal in a different state.

The project started off with much promise when developer Chris Harrison signed on in 2016.

Three years later and little progress to show for it has city leaders concerned.

"The community is tired of what they are looking at," said Petersburg City Manager Aretha Ferrell-Benavides.

"It is located on I-95 and visible by 100,000 cars each day," said Reggie Tabor, Petersburg Economic Development Manager.

With that kind of visibility, the long-empty hotel building continues to cause problems, according to Tabor.

"In its current state, with graffiti, broken windows, with falling walls, it is not a good reflection of our community," he added.

City leaders say they are concerned to learn that Harrison is involved in a nearly $100 million dollar venture in Winston-Salem North Carolina.

While renovations were to have been completed on the Petersburg Hotel Project this year, in October Petersburg City Leaders say Harrison was in Charlottesville looking for financial help with the project.

"Identified a $2 million dollar gap that he was seeking to fill," said Tabor, who added that Harrison told attendees at the Opportunity Virginia Forum.

"The total cost that was presented is $21,299,000," said Tabor.

In October, Harrison was also in North Carolina saying phase one of the Winston-Salem Project would begin in March of next year with apartments available by late 2020.

Tabor says Petersburg's goal is to keep pushing for their city's project to move forward.

"So, we want to do whatever we can to advance the redevelopment of the project and make sure it's completed as soon as possible," he added.

But if that can't happen, Ferrell-Benavides says their goal will be to "find a developer who is capable of completing the project."

CBS 6 reached out to Chris Harrison for comment but he declined. Petersburg officials say Harrison is supposed to meet with staff in the near future to discuss his plans.

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