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Multimillion dollar renovation of Richmond’s downtown Marriott nearly complete

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Print this page Paula C. Squires

The downtown Richmond Marriott is putting the finishing touches on a $14 million overhaul. Gone is a ‘80s-style property with old-fashioned glitz. In its place is a contemporary hotel with interactive amenities designed to make the Marriott a hub for gatherings along Broad Street’s redeveloped corridor.

A new lobby, sports bar, outdoor dining and expanded Starbucks are some of the changes visitors will find. The new restaurant, T-Miller’s Sports Bar & Grill, opens next week on Aug. 27 in conjunction with a grand opening ceremony.

Hotel General Manager Tom Underwood looks forward to showing off the dramatic changes to the 24-year-old property. “The Richmond Marriot is excited to be part of the transformation taking place on Board Street,” said Underwood.

From new paint on the exterior, to a complete refurbishing of the hotel’s 400-plus rooms, and a bold new color scheme of rich reds, oranges and gold — the redo transforms the hotel’s vibe from traditional to fun and funky. For instance, the lobby now includes a water feature and sectional registration desk where employees can easily come out to greet and assist visitors.  In keeping with a Great Room concept Marriott is rolling out across the country, the lobby offers seating alcoves, high definition television and small work areas. The idea is to boost functionality for business travelers, one of Marriott’s key targeted guests.

“What Marriott’s research shows is that a lot of business people don’t want to sit alone at a restaurant or a bar,” says Underwood. “You can sit in our lobby with your laptop, watch television and work and order food and beverage.” 

The renovation includes other perks for business travelers. The hotel expanded its fitness area and added four new executive suites. They include more space than a typical room with a bar, lounging area, closed-off bedroom with granite-topped end tables, and a spacious bathroom with a hot tub. The suites rent for $250 a night compared to a regular room rate of $199 a night during the week, and $139 a night on weekends, Underwood said.

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The renovation at Sixth and Broad St. began a year ago when Apple REIT Seven Inc., a Richmond-based real estate investment trust, purchased the property. It is finishing up just in time for the Sept. 12 opening of CenterStage, Richmond’s long-awaited performing arts complex. The $73 million, 179,000-square-foot project between Grace and Broad Streets includes renovation of the historic Carpenter Theatre and adds two smaller venues.

It’s expected to be another shot in the arm for the East Broad Street corridor, which now boasts the Richmond Convention Center, The National, a new Hilton Garden Inn — which includes residential condominiums — a downtown location for the law school of the University of Richmond, and a new federal courthouse.  With the recession lowering hotel occupancy rates — with the Richmond Marriott’s rate at about 60 percent for the year — local officials are in hopes that the new projects will attract visitors and local residents downtown. 

 


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