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Developer upbeat on hotel’s potential / August 15, 2013
Plans to revitalize the old John Randolph Hotel in South Boston aroused strong interest and expressions of support from downtown merchants and property owners at a public hearing Monday evening.

Hal Craddock of Creative Boutique Hotels of Lynchburg spoke at the meeting about his firm’s interest in restoring the John Randolph as an upscale, 70-room hotel.

Touting the success of the company’s recently opened downtown Lynchburg location, Craddock said it was named the No. 1 boutique hotel in Virginia last year, as judged by a statewide publication.

Craddock said small downtown hotels are making a comeback among visitors eager to learn their stories and soak up local histories.

“The John Randolph Hotel could tell an incredible story, while making a big difference in this community,” said Craddock.

He added that for small hotels to be successful, they need attractions around them that will keep people in town for three or four days at a time. He pointed to the area’s tourism and visitation assets — The Prizery, the Southern Virginia Higher Education Center, two local race tracks in VIR and South Boston Speedway, the Tobacco Heritage hiking trail and historic venues such as the Crossing of the Dan.

Boutique hotels, he said, can be huge drivers of revenue for adjoining businesses.

“People want the experience,” he noted, “but it takes everybody working together to make it happen.”

The Lynchburg project — the Craddock Terry Hotel, named after the shoe factory that once operated there — attracted 53 investors, he said.

He estimated that a renovated John Randolph Hotel — which would include the present vacant facility and a new addition built in the rear — would offer some 70 rooms.

Currently the Town of South Boston owns the hotel and the lot adjoining it at the back.

South Boston Community Development Coordinator Tamyra Vest explained that a feasibility study which was done on the John Randolph building led to the need for a Master Plan for downtown South Boston. Monday’s public informational session, held at Town Council Chambers, was the first step in implementing the downtown study.

The next step is tnaming a project management team, which is slated to hold its first meeting on Tuesday, August 20. A visioning session will follow and then a survey of the physical building comes next.

“We want people to get excited and get involved,” Vest told the crowd, which included a number of downtown business and property owners.

Earlier in the Monday meeting, South Boston Town Manager Ted Daniel said the town has secured at $20,000 planning grant to carryout a Master Plan for Downtown South Boston. He asked members of the audience to think about what could be done to maximize the economic development potential of the downtown commercial district, and what is the right size for the district and what kind of businesses are needed in the area.

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Should private money or public money be used to buy defunct businesses? Does Article 1 Section 11 of the Constitution of Virginia give any indication?

"That the General Assembly shall pass no law whereby private property, the right to which is fundamental, shall be damaged or taken except for public use. .....No more private property may be taken than necessary to achieve the stated public use. No private property shall be damaged or taken for public use without just compensation to the owner thereof. .... In all other cases, a taking or damaging of private property is not for public use if the primary use is for private gain, private benefit, private enterprise, increasing jobs, increasing tax revenue, or economic development, except for the elimination of a public nuisance existing on the property. The condemnor bears the burden of proving that the use is public, without a presumption that it is."


OK. We get it. Youins is agin it.

Powers that be in HC/SoBo- heed "inquisitive" and give up while you're ahead. Mindsets like this will prevent ANY progress ever being made in this area, and we'll stay stuck in the 70s.

Meanwhile derelict properties will continue to accumulate and become ever more worthless as a source of revenue for anyone, be they private or public.


Where are the self proclaimed "constitutional conservatives" when you need them?


Probably standing right behind you or looking over your shoulder, as we are legion.

Besides- the above statute on eminent domain was written to deter forced seizure without just compensation such as happened in Connecticut a few years back. Seems to me the Randolph property owners were compensated and all parties were happy.

Your tea is getting cold.


Does that compensation qualify as a taxpayer funded bailout?


Of course it does! We're going to throw your tax money at every "useless" project we can find. Then we're coming after your assets so you'll have nothing to leave your grandchildren. We're going to take it all and give it to someone who didn't work for it.


You remind me of a geezer I used to spar with in the Danville paper around 02. His daughter finally called begging me to stop as she was afraid her father was going to have a stroke. She said he'd get so angry reading my comments that his neck veins would bulge.

So, if I haven't sent a tea partier into apoplexy daily, I feel I haven't done my job. There is a large difference between conservatism and tea-partying.

Even in conservative circles there's room for spending public money to upgrade and improve things that will pay off down the road.

So tell us, tea-bag, what is your REAL problem with rehabbing the Randolph? You have a vested interest in one of these chain motels and don't want the competition?


Should everyone who owns a "stagnant and on its way to derelict" property be rescued from their poor investment choice with a taxpayer funded bailout?


Maybe the hotel will be able to sustain itself after taxpayers are forced to invest hundreds of thousands of dollars in rennovations. Maybe the Prizery will one day be able to operate on its own without the town having to ask the county for operating funds. I'm not holding my breath for that either. The $57,000+ in rent the residents of the town of Halifax paid for the Convergence Art Quild worked out well too didn't it? But if government stuck to investing in actual infrastructure like roads, sewers, water lines, waste disposal, or bridges then we wouldn't be having this discussion and we would all be better off.


The other local rag reports the Randolph project is opening to private investors, both qualified and unqualified. So- there's your private investment opportunity!

Oh wait- if you're making more than $200k a year, you're considered wealthy and subject to higher tax rates, so you wouldn't invest. Unless, of course, you're subject to tax cuts for the wealthy that TP legislators push thru for you.

Hate to be snarky about all this, but the area HAS to do something to promote itself and make itself attractive to people/businesses that might consider locating here. If there's nothing here but same-old same-old, HC-SB will be hard pressed to get anyone who might bring jobs interested in the area. That is why I support things like the Randolph, the Prizery and other development. I don't like taxes any more than the rest of you, but I realise that without them, nothing gets done.


Seriously? "without them , nothing gets done." You are either just teasing now or you have a serious flair for drama and an overinflated sense of the importance of government.


Amused- try privatizing most government services. Some lend easily to it, others don't. Like them or not, government and taxes are a necessary evil.

Would you have us individually adopt sections of public highway and pay for all maintenance and repairs on that stretch? Same for a municipal water treatment plant? Hope ya have deep pockets... I know what a simple Class C surface water treatment license costs- I'd hate to shoulder costs of a complete water treatment facility without some public money.

Unless, of course, you want to rein in costs imposed by private enterprises involved in constructing and maintaining such infrastructure. If you don't believe there's a whole lot of padding in those contracts, it's obvious you've never been involved in such projects. I've been doing them since 1979 and it always takes compromise to make both sides happy and get the job completed- which is something you hardcore partisans on both sides of the political arena fail to understand.


Never said anything about privatizing government services. It's just that government services and infrastructure like highways and water treatment plants don't include hotels.


I’m just glad we have people much smarter than the taxpayers to spend our money for us. It has worked so well for this country and our debt through the present. Powerhouse must be a politician. If not you should consider a career change. You would be perfect for the job. You believe in picking and choosing which laws apply to you, love the idea of spending other peoples’ money, and you have an answer for everything. I would say good luck but it’s not necessary because you will fit in just fine. Don't raise the tax on our tea too much. It might get dumped overboard again. Don’t like labels much but if you insist. From one " tea bag" to an old douche bag, it’s been entertaining but I'll bow out now. A wise man once said "Never argue with an idiot because the people listening won't know the difference". Take care.


Suspected you were all one and the same person. Multiple personality disorder is a recognised and treatable mental illness. Oh wait- your kind doesn't want to spend any money to treat the mentally ill either, but you'll scream and blame the NRA when one of them snaps and commits mass murder.

As long as people and attitudes like you are in HC-SB, the area will stay as it is- mired in the past. Look past your own interests for once and realise that the area HAS to do something, whether thru private investment or public money. Don't sit there with your head in the sand and think it won't affect you.

I can assure you I'm not a politician, actually in an industry politicians on both sides love to hate, but I observe the actions of both sides and SMH daily. People like you especially amuse me, so I guess I should assume your persona and sign myself "Amused".

Like you, done here. Tired of beating my head against the wall. Your mentality won't change and neither will mine.

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