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Opinion/Editorial: Derelict to be demolished — but it’s not ours

Opinion/Editorial: Derelict to be demolished — but it’s not ours

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Robot Building

A man walks past the never-occupied “Buried Robot” building in Kaliningrad, Russia. The hulking building sardonically likened to a robot’s head has loomed over the city for decades.

Hopefully, Charlottesville won’t have to wait a total of 36 years for a resolution on the derelict and unfinished Dewberry Hotel on the Downtown Mall.

But three-and-a-half decades in limbo is the yardstick established by the infamous — and famously derided — “robot” building in Kaliningrad, Russia.

The region’s governor has just announced that the structure will be demolished next year.

The 21-story building was intended to be the grandly named House of Soviets. It was constructed in the Brutalist style (now, there’s a descriptive label).

The façade on the blocky building features balconies that look like eyes and a mouth, leading to its more popular moniker, the Buried Robot.

Funding ran out in 1985 amid the economic and political turmoil that ultimately led to the dissolution of the Soviet Union.

Since then, it has sat empty and unfinished and has been ruled unsafe.

It gained greater notoriety in 2018 when Kaliningrad hosted World Cup soccer matches, and a staging area for fans was set up nearby.

Here at home, the Dewberry — also variously named the Landmark Hotel, the Laramore, the Beacon-Charlottesville and Hotel Charlottesville through several owners and incarnations — has sat empty and derelict “only” since 2009, when funding collapsed.

So by the Buried Robot standard, we have to wait “only” until 2045 to see the end of the eyesore.

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