Industries Commercial Real Estate

Richmond investment group partners with Charlestown Hotels

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Print this page By Paula C. Squires

The Villages at Staunton, an 80-acre, mixed-use development in downtown Staunton, is getting a new project: a $28 million, 102-room, boutique hotel and spa. Charlestowne Hotels, Inc., out of Charleston, S.C., is partnering with a Richmond-based investment group, Blackburn Inn Associates LLC, to renovate three of the village’s historic buildings, transforming them into what will be known as the Blackburn Inn & Spa.

The name comes fromThomas R. Blackburn, an early Virginia architect who worked with Thomas Jefferson on the construction of the University of Virginia.  He also was the architect on the buildings that are being converted into the hotel. Renovation is expected to begin by the second quarter, with the project scheduled to open by the third quarter of 2013. Some of the principals in Blackburn Inn Associates already are involved with development of The Villages at Staunton, including Robin Miller and Dan Gecker, both principals with Village Development Associates.  “We’ve long envisioned a hotel property being a central component of the project, and we look forward to the special vitality it will add,” Gecker said in a statement.

Stan Manoogian, a principal with Piedmont Capital Partners | MB in Richmond, told Virginia Business that his group helped arrange the $28 million in financing for the project and is serving as an advisor.  Manoogian also has been involved in the development of West Broad Village, a mixed-use project in Henrico County. Asked why his group decided to get involved in Staunton, he said,
“I think Staunton is a great destination … It’s a Norman Rockwell slice of Middle America.”

He described the actual site at The Villages as “a unique property with a beautiful location.” The 80-acre property dates back to the 1800s and originally was the home of The Western State Hospital, Virgina’s first mental health hospital. Manoogian’s group has worked with Miller and Gecker on other projects, he noted. About five years into the project, the push so far at The Villages has been residential, with some condominium buildings up and units sold.  However, with the slowdown in recent years in residential, the pressure was on to begin moving on the mixed-use component.

“The conversation about his project began about this time last year. We were thinking, ‘What can we do to advance the other aspects of the project? And so the hotel was the first thing out of the box,’” said Manoogian.  “There’s a corporate user that we’re talking to about some office space, and there’s a couple of other things that we expect to announce shortly.”  Charlestown Hotels will manage The Blackburn Inn and Spa.



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