Soon to open
During the next two years, Virginia will see the opening of many highly anticipated hotels. Several of the projects are located in Hampton Roads, although the Shenandoah Valley also is getting a new high-end hotel and conference center.
One of the most high-profile projects is the The Main Hotel and Conference Center in downtown Norfolk. “I think this project will give Norfolk a sense of arrival onto the scene as a significant urban city,” says Michael Woodhead, vice president of marketing for developer Gold Key PHR Hotels and Resorts.
The Virginia Beach-based company also is in the midst of “what has become a roughly $75 million renovation” of the historic Cavalier Hotel, one of the resort city’s most iconic properties which.0 dates back to the 1920s. “It will experience a complete renaissance and return to its original splendor,” says Woodhead.
“The hospitality and tourism industries are excited for the investment dollars coming into the state, something Virginia hasn’t truly seen since the economic downturn in 2008,” says Eric Terry, president at Virginia Restaurant, Lodging & Travel Association. “New hotels and renovations are sure to help the hotel and tourism industry in 2016 and beyond.”
The new projects include:
• The Main (Hilton Norfolk at The Main and The Exchange at The Main) —Currently under construction, the hotel and conference center at the corner of Granby and Main streets is scheduled to open in March 2017. The project is a public/private partnership involving the city and Gold Key PHR Hotels and Resorts. Norfolk will own and pay for the conference center and a parking garage, and its contributions already have exceeded $100 million, according to published reports. Gold Key will fund about $65 million. The full-service, upscale 23-story Hilton hotel will have 300 guestrooms and three food and beverage offerings.
• The top floor will be dedicated to the Empyrean Level Club, a luxury five-star hotel within the hotel. “It will be a notch above,” says Woodhead, noting that the rates are different than a standard room and that rooms are available to anyone, not just Hilton Honors members. The Exchange conference center will include a secure meeting room and the region’s largest ballroom, with space to accommodate up to 1,500 people. The property also will offer a rooftop garden and lounge overlooking the Elizabeth River.
• The Cavalier Hotel in Virginia Beach — Currently undergoing a $75 million renovation, the hotel is on the National Register of Historic Places. Gold Key is rebuilding guest rooms, making them larger and more luxurious. In the process, the number of rooms will drop from 110 to 87. The hotel, which is going for a five-star rating, will be branded as a member of Marriott’s luxury Autograph Collection of boutique hotels. It’s scheduled to reopen in late 2016 or early 2017.
• Marriott in Virginia Beach — Gold Key is in the development phase of an upscale, full-service, 300-room Marriott across from The Cavalier on Atlantic Avenue. The hotel is scheduled for completion in 2018.
• Hyatt House Hotel in Virginia Beach — Armada Hoffler Properties is building this hotel, located in the heart of the city’s oceanfront at 27th Street and Atlantic Avenue. The $100 million, 19-story, extended-stay hotel will include 156 rooms. The hotel will include meeting spaces as well as resort amenities. The company also is building a six-story parking deck across Atlantic Avenue that also will house ground-floor retail space that fronts Pacific Avenue. The $77 million project is targeted to open in the first or second quarter of 2017.
• Virginia Beach Resort Hotel and Conference Center —The all-suite hotel is currently undergoing a $2.5 million renovation that includes carpeting and floors in all of its 295 guest suites.
• Hotel Madison and the Shenandoah Valley Conference Center in Harrisonburg — A public/private partnership, the hotel is located on land owned by James Madison University. The 230-room hotel will be privately owned and operated by dpM Partners in Maryland. The principal of the company, Paul Gladd, is a JMU alumnus. The JMU Foundation will own the conference center. Construction should begin in March and completion is scheduled for September 2017. The hotel is expected to cost about $34 million, and the conference center $10.9 million.
• Downtown Richmond hotels — Shamin Hotels in Chester recently opened the 144-room Hampton Inn & Suites Richmond-Downtown and a 100-room Homewood Suites by Hilton Richmond-Downtown in an 18-story office building at 700 E. Main St.