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Hotel John Marshall Back on Track

The Hotel John Marshall has finally changed hands, and the new owner says renovations should begin sometime in February.

John Camper, a real estate developer from Virginia Beach, says he purchased the company that owns the hotel in mid-November. Obtaining the financing for $45 million in renovations, however, is going slower than expected. He plans to convert the old hotel, built in 1929, into apartments with a mix of retail tenants on the first few floors.

"I think the sheer fact that the building is a mixed-use project with multiple income streams has made it complex," Camper says. "It takes a little time to digest, and it's taken longer than I expected."

Camper says he purchased the corporation that owns the John Marshall, Goodness Gracious Inc., from Gilbert Granger of Williamsburg, instead of buying the building outright. Camper declined to disclose the purchase price.

Real estate sources say Granger was asking $8 million for the property and the building, which is assessed at $4.6 million.

Camper says he plans to reopen the ballroom, renovate the old hotel rooms into 175 upscale apartments and add 30,000 square feet of retail space. Plans call for bringing back the John Marshall barber shop and reopening with an Italian restaurant, a martini bar and a high-end delicatessen and grocery store next year. — Scott Bass

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