Several GrandMarc residents continue to stay at The Draftsman hotel due to flooding

Off-grounds apartment residents have been displaced for over four weeks

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Firefighters responded to an electrical fire and burst pipe that occurred when a sprinkler head in a GrandMarc apartment broke after a University student tied a speaker to it.

Dorothy Wang | Cavalier Daily

Student residents at the GrandMarc apartment complex continue to be housed at The Draftsman hotel in downtown Charlottesville for over a month after flooding caused severe interior damage to more than 10 rooms. Several students do not know when they will be able to move back in. 

The Charlottesville Fire Department sent three units to respond to fire alarm calls at GrandMarc on the Corner — an off-Grounds student residential complex on 15th Street — between 10:16 and 10:31 p.m. the night of Feb. 23. Firefighters responded to an electrical fire and burst pipe that occurred when a sprinkler head in an apartment broke after a University student tied a speaker to it.

Several other nearby units were also damaged, including that of third-year Curry student Kiernan DiMeglio, who says GrandMarc has been vague about when students will be able to move back in to their apartments.

“They’ve been slightly communicative — like sending us the occasional email to the whole list of people displaced,” DiMeglio said. “We’ll likely be moving back in during exams.… At that point, it feels like you don’t even want to move back in.”

DiMeglio and the other residents whose apartments experienced water or fire damage were forced to relocate to The Draftsman Hotel on West Main Street.  A representative from The Draftsman — which is a boutique hotel owned by Marriott — told The Cavalier Daily that the hotel had to remove its alcoholic beverages from its mini-bars to accommodate the students. 

GrandMarc management made arrangements for the displaced residents to stay at the hotel for no cost — which would typically cost a guest $189 per night — and gave them a $100 daily stipend to be used while the rooms are being fixed.

“Thankfully, since we were two [floors] below, our sprinklers did not go off, so our stuff didn’t get directly messed up, but there water in our apartment when I came in,” DiMeglio said. “Our floors, walls, ceilings, cabinets and carpets all needed to be completely ripped out and replaced – basically everything. They kind of tore down our apartment and rebuilt one.”

GrandMarc is not allowing displaced students the option to break their leases for the summer, according to DiMeglio. Apartments at GrandMarc currently range from $694 to $1,405 per month. A 12-month lease on a one-bedroom apartment costs nearly $17,000 to rent.

Second-year College student Jonathan Buchinsky is also a displaced GrandMarc resident.

“Thankfully none of my belongings got damaged but I still had to leave,” Buchinsky said in an email to The Cavalier Daily. “I am currently living in The Draftsman … really really nice accommodations for sure, but I hardly have any space for anything and it is further from Grounds.”

GrandMarc representatives told The Cavalier Daily that they were unable to comment on the situation or whether legal action is being taken against the resident.

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