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Owner of razed inn on Emmet Street submits plans for new 7-story hotel

The new design is seven stories tall and will require City Council approval of a special use permit

<p>The Gallery Court Hotel proposal includes a seven story structure which will feature 72 rooms and 92 parking spaces.&nbsp;</p>

The Gallery Court Hotel proposal includes a seven story structure which will feature 72 rooms and 92 parking spaces. 

The owner of the now-razed Excel Inn & Suites has submitted a proposal to the City of Charlottesville to rebuild the hotel under a new design and name — the Gallery Court Hotel. The proposed Gallery Court Hotel sits near Carr’s Hill and Lambeth Field Apartments at 140 Emmet Street. 

The Excel Inn & Suites burned down May 4, 2017. The Charlottesville Fire Marshal ruled the fire an accident and the hotel was closed indefinitely.

The owner — Vipul Patel, a former pharmacist whose parents owned the Excel Inn & Suites — said in his Feb. 20 proposal to City Planner Heather Newmyer that the hotel has been his lifelong passion.

“Though we are profoundly grateful that there was no harm done to our staff or guests, we never imagined losing Excel Inn & Suites entirely,” Patel wrote. “Our hearts were shattered, and this continues to be a difficult time for my family. However, we find comfort in knowing that this is not the end, but the opportunity for a new beginning.”

Patel’s proposal features a Gallery Court Hotel that has 72 rooms and 92 parking spaces with seven stories. As the plot of land is located in an Urban Corridor Mixed Use District, the developers must petition City Council for a special use permit to build above 60 feet. The developers must also receive a certificate of appropriateness from the Charlottesville Board of Architectural Review that verifies the building fulfills certain design requirements.

A submitted project description says the proposed name dates back to the 1950s, when the hotel on the property was known as the Gallery Court Motor Hotel. The background information for the project also says Martin Luther King Jr. stayed at the hotel on the property when he came to speak at the University in 1963. 

The site is also adjacent to the Ivy-Emmet Corridor, a tract of University-owned property with several upcoming renovations including the demolition of the Villa Diner and the Cavalier Inn. The Board of Visitors has heard proposals about the future of the corridor, which could include a new performing arts space, classrooms and a hotel. 

NBJ Architecture and Line + Grade will be part of the team working on the Gallery Court Hotel project. The proposal will first be heard at a Charlottesville Planning Commission meeting Wednesday, which starts at 5:30 p.m. at City Hall. The special use permit will ultimately require City Council’s approval in order for Patel to move forward with the proposed plans.