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Dispute Over Former Howard Johnson's Hotel Property - abc27 WHTM

Dispute Over Former Howard Johnson's Hotel Property

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Danville, VA - A former hotel property in Danville has fallen in a state of disrepair, and city officials want it torn down. But the owner and a potential buyer have plans to give it new life.

Now, they've had to hire a lawyer to try to stop the city's plans for demolition before it's too late.

The restaurant and living quarters were part of a Howard Johnson's Hotel more than 30 years ago, but the property most recently served as apartments before being condemned by the city.

Michael Lewis reached out to the owner a few months ago wanting to renovate the restaurant and turn the units into low-income housing.

He also says he wants to make three units available for the Homeless Shelter to use. But Lewis says the city will not let him move forward.

He was told the cost for tearing it down would fall on the owner. And if they wanted to stop it, they would need a lawyer to file an injunction.

Lewis says it has been a nightmare for him to revitalize a site that still has a lot of potential.

"They have thrown us out of this building, made us leave, threatened to call the cops on us....I would like to see the city give us time to get it repaired, get it back in operation order, and move forward from there," said Lewis.

City officials declined to comment because it's a pending legal case.

The owner purchased the property for more than $300,000 in 2011.

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