By Paula C. Squires
The Cavalier Hotel, one of Virginia Beach’s best-known landmarks, is on the market. CBRE|Hotels said Wednesday that it has been retained as the exclusive agent in the sale of the 86-year-old hotel at 4201 Atlantic Ave.
Since opening for business in 1927, the Cavalier has hosted presidents and movie stars, including Richard Nixon and Judy Garland. The 21.2-acre property includes two full-service hotels in Virginia Beach’s North End. The original seven-story, 110-room hotel sits on a hill overlooking a newer, 11-story, 282-room hotel that opened in the 1970s.
“This unique opportunity offers not only a historic hotel and an oceanfront hotel, but enough land area that has the potential for a really outstanding mixed-use redevelopment,” Doug Henkel, executive vice president of CBRE|Hotels, said in a statement. “The property sits at the northern gateway to the City of Virginia Beach’s famed resort strip. The opportunity here is only limited by a purchaser’s imagination.”
CBRE’s statement did not include a list price. In 2012, the city of Virginia Beach assessed the property at $34.2 million.
Along with the two hotels and a 50,000-square-foot conference center, facilities include an indoor pool in the original hotel, an outside pool and kiddie pool adjacent to the newer hotel, outdoor tennis courts and a fitness center. There’s also an owner/manager residence, employee housing and automobile repair garage.
The Cavalier is on the market as the result of a long running court dispute among family members of The Disthene Group Inc., which has been playing out in state courts since 2005. In September, a Fairfax County Circuit Court judge appointed a receiver, Charles Goldstein, to preside over liquidation of the Buckingham County company’s assets after ruling that Disthene’s corporate leaders had oppressed minority shareholders. Disthene is a holding company whose subsidiaries include The Cavalier, the world’s largest kyanite mineral operation in Buckingham County and more than 30,000 acres of timberland.
Goldstein, a managing director of Protiviti in Baltimore, could not be reached for comment. John H. Craddock Jr., a Richmond attorney with LeClairRyan who is representing Curtis Colgate, one of the plaintiffs in the lawsuit, said the hotel and the mine will “do business as usual” until they are sold. “There’s a lot of interest in the hotel and the mine,” he said.
Colgate’s uncle and cousin, Gene Dixon Jr. and Guy Dixon ― executives for The Disthene Group― filed papers last year stating their intent to appeal the court’s decision to the state Supreme Court. However, Virginia’s Supreme Court denied a motion to stop the breakup and sale of the company while the appeal is pending.
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