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Redevelopment renaissance

Hotel projects draw attention to Virginia cities

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Print this page by Richard Foster
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The Bristol Hotel project involved the renovation of the Executive
Plaza office building. Photo courtesy The Bristol Hotel

Cape Charles is far from the only Virginia locality experiencing a recent renaissance from tourism and the redevelopment of historic properties.

Danville, a city hit hard in the early 2000s by the loss of its textile industry, is rebounding with a host of new restaurants, breweries, entertainment venues and loft apartments in repurposed warehouses and historic buildings in its downtown River District.

One indication of the city’s revival is a Roanoke development team’s plan to redevelop two River District buildings into a boutique hotel.

“This is the first hotel that is being developed in the River District,” says Linwood Wright, a former Danville mayor who is a city economic development consultant. “We are certainly excited that we will get a boutique hotel in the district where people can stay and enjoy the amenities of the district and conduct business in Danville at the same time.”

Meanwhile, on the Virginia-Tennessee line, Bristol late last year saw the opening of The Bristol Hotel, the result of a $20 million renovation of the 1920s-era Executive Plaza office building.

With 65 rooms and suites, the boutique hotel features street-level dining, a 3,800-square-foot ballroom and a rooftop bar with panoramic views of nearby mountains. The hotel is near the Birthplace of Country Music Museum and music venue, which opened in 2014 in a 24,000-square-foot redeveloped warehouse.

The museum commemorates the 1927 Bristol Sessions, at which a number of performers, including the country music pioneers Jimmie Rodgers and the Carter Family, were recorded by Victor Talking Machine Co. producer Ralph Peer.

Michael Tall, president and chief operating officer of Charlestowne Hotels, which manages and operates The Bristol Hotel, said in a news release: “The revitalization of Executive Plaza into The Bristol Hotel serves as a catalyst for the growth of Bristol, Virginia, while preserving the influential nature of the city’s historic legacy. We aim to develop a top-tier boutique hotel and unique brand that is authentic to the city’s roots while elevating the dining, social gathering and beverage experience, attracting both visitors and the local community.”

Additionally, Hotel Weyanoke has been a big draw in Farmville. The property opened in 1925 as a hotel and later served other purposes. It reopened as a 70-room hotel last year after going through an extensive renovation and expansion.

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