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South Boston receives $100,000 grant to purchase John Randolph Hotel

SoVaNow.com / February 13, 2013
Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) announced three projects in Virginia to receive Industrial Revitalization Grant Funding (IRF). Sixteen applications were received and South Boston received $100,000 for purchase of the John Randolph Hotel.
 
Bill Shelton, director of DHCD, says in the program's first year, they saw the beginnings of several derelict structures being brought back to life and these funds not only restore vacant, unused buildings, but spur economic revitalization, bringing jobs and more private investment to communities that need it.
 
Tamyra Vest, executive director of Destination Downtown South Boston (DDSB), said "DDSB received a $25,000 grant in February 2012 for a feasibility study for development of the John Randolph Hotel as a boutique hotel. The feasibility study showed a landmark ready for renovation and possible expansion and presented the development, investment and marketing for making the property a business and community sucess."   
 
"We are excited to be working with a developer that is interested in pursuing the project. Initial discussions with the developer indicated the importance of DDSB and the Town to get control of the property. The South Boston Industrial Development Authority (IDA) applied for an IRF grant of $100,000 to be able to work with the developer to pursue developement of the hotel in line with the feasibility study."
 
Ted Daniel, South Boston town manager, said, "We are really grateful that DHCD saw fit to support our efforts to save the John Randolph Hotel and develop it in a way that will preserve it through Historic District Tax Credits and complement the whole downtown revitalization effort."
 
"Memories are made at these types of hotels and travelers are looking to experience things that are both off the beaten path and offer something they can't find anywhere else. More and more travelers are looking outside of the flagged hotel brands for accommodations and these hotels don't have to offer five star accommodations. They need to be warm, unique, and different, and offer the traveler a "welcome mat experience" of local hospitality and serve as a gateway to other attractions and destinations in the area. This grant provides us the first baby step in making this dream a reality," Vest said.

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This is a project I really hope will work out. South Boston has an active enough downtown that a boutique style hotel should work. I know plenty of people who are tired of overpriced corporate cookie-cutter lodging.

I would recommend Ms Vest read British or continental European magazines such as BRITAIN or British Heritage to see what a small hotel can be and the audience it attracts. Possibly even reopen Die Kajute as a reasonably priced tapas bar? smile


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