PETERSBURG, Va. (WRIC) — The Petersburg Department of Neighborhood Services has begun addressing long standing issues with an empty hotel building visible from Interstate 95. The city performed an inspection of the former Ramada Inn hotel on Washington Street after years of it sitting unoccupied.

In 2018, 8News reported that the state had provided close to $1 million to demolish the hotel and remove mold from the property, but the efforts were put on hold due to a dispute between contractors. The project was initially scheduled to take a maximum of two years to complete.

Today the hotel building still appears dilapidated and the City of Petersburg is reviving efforts to change that.

Petersburg City Council approved a staff evaluation of the property in October. They also authorized any necessary actions to fix the site, including demolition.

A release from the city explains that the Petersburg Maintenance Official wrote to the hotel owners and property managers, Harrison Companies, LLC and Virginia Hotel Group, LLC, back in December to request permission to inspect the property.

The letter states that there have been maintenance issues with the property since 2013 when the city requested that the former owners either repair the building or demolish it for failures to meet fire and property codes. It also states that under new ownership the building keeps getting worse, the new owners were told to remove loose materials from the property and secure the site. Due to ongoing issues, Petersburg has made criminal summonses for the violations.

The owners and managers agreed to allow the city to move forward with the inspection.

The building inspection was done on Tuesday after the building was cleared by police. It suspected that it could have possibly been occupied by people who did not have permission from the owner.

Frank Poulin, Director of Neighborhood Services, said “The new department of Neighborhood Services, with a new team in place, remains steadfast in its commitment to address unsafe properties across the city and will continue in our efforts to ensure such conditions are abated, if it is determined that such conditions exist at the old Ramada site, we will do everything we can to ensure that the violations are corrected as expeditiously allowed by law.”