Petersburg's tallest building could be demolished - FOX Carolina 21

Petersburg's tallest building could be demolished

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PETERSBURG, VA (WWBT) -

It's the site of abductions and armed robberies, a hotel seen by thousands passing through Petersburg on Interstate 95. The former Fort Lee Regency could be on its way to demolition, as Petersburg council members discuss this week whether to proceed with demolition.

The building on East Washington Street stands empty, and has remained unused for at least two years. According to City documents, the site's owner failed to repair or demolish the structure before a City imposed deadline last July.

Now, the Petersburg City Council will decide on Tuesday whether or not to call the building a public nuisance to the community, the first step towards demolition.

According to a draft ordinance, Petersburg Police received numerous complaints and calls for service at the empty hotel, with incidents extending back to 2005.

"These complaints include, by way of illustration, but not limitation, abduction, armed robbery, drug violations, solicitation, and vandalism," the draft ordinance states.

The hotel is also described in the draft ordinance as an assembly point for gangs, right at the City's gateway to Interstates 95 and 85. According to a City presentation, 120,000 cars on I-95 pass the building each day.

Four months ago, Petersburg requested a demolition plan from the hotel property owner. But documents show the owner of the Fort Lee Regency instead submitted plans to convert the building into an assisted living center, apartments or hotel.

The estimated demolition cost is $749,000, with the bill sent to the property owner. If the public nuisance ordinance is adopted Tuesday, it will take effect immediately.

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