Richmond duo bets $12M on ancient Farmville resort

resort Weyanoke reopened after a $12 million renovation. inn Weyanoke

Two local builders who traditionally have centered multifamily projects in imperative and Southwest Virginia are embarking on a new course with the outlet of their first hotel.

Ross Fickenscher and Garrett Shifflett, house owners of Richmond-based mostly Aoss Ventures, final month opened the 70-room resort Weyanoke in downtown Farmville, across from Longwood institution.

They’ve invested about $12 million to overtake the property, which changed into built as a lodge within the 1920s and – once they purchased it 5 years ago from a personal proprietor for $950,000 – had been used most lately as pupil housing.

“We stored the spend for a few years, as a result of at the time we didn’t comprehend what to do with the property,” Fickenscher noted of the scholar housing. “We knew that the existing exhaust was unsustainable given the age of the facility and the classification of tenants that resided within the building.”

lodge Weyanoke became one of the biggest, most opulent resort and conference core complexes between Richmond and Winston-Salem, North Carolina, at the time of its construction.

Named for the Native American tribe that originally settled the enviornment, lodge Weyanoke hosted several politicians, celebrities and hobbies, including an annual Lion membership conference in the late Nineteen Twenties that featured author and activist Helen Keller. a picture of Keller’s visit is still on monitor in the inn.

“There turned into loads of pride in getting the hotel constructed,” Fickenscher observed. “When it opened, there became a 2,500-person parade – one of the town’s largest on the time – to welcome it into the company community.”

The lodge’s grand opening ceremony. Aoss Ventures

attempting to find yet another consume of the property, Fickenscher and Shifflett have been approached in 2015 by way of Williamsburg-based mostly Cornerstone Hospitality.

“They got here to us with the thought of changing it again right into a inn, which we knew became its fashioned and most historic expend,” Fickenscher spoke of.

“however become some thing we on no account idea about doing ourselves except they approached us.”

the two met with a couple of group stakeholders and businesses, together with the Longwood institution true estate basis, which has performed a pivotal position in redeveloping downtown Farmville houses close its campus.

looking to construct on its old past, the development duo spent the subsequent three years carving out a plan to rehab and expand lodge Weyanoke.

After 18 months of construction fueled by way of historic tax credits and personal financing, the resort these days boasts 70 rooms, together with 27 within the normal structure, with the final steadiness in a newly constructed wing.

The inn offers four eating ideas within the facility: Sassafras espresso Bar, which serves Counter subculture espresso and bakery items; Effingham’s, which serves pizza, vegetarian dishes, pub fare and beer from Shifflett’s Danville-based mostly Ballad Brewing; and Campagna Italian Kitchen and Wine Bar, which offers Italian cuisine and wine. The Catbird Rooftop Terrace is a rooftop bar featuring song, pursuits and 360-degree views of the downtown Farmville enviornment and Longwood campus.

“We basically wanted to make this a vacation spot,” Shifflett noted. “It needed to blend into the cloth poker online of the neighborhood, and all the heritage the enviornment has to offer.”

John Shideler, the previous normal manager for the Williamsburg resort, will function hotel Weyanoke’s accepted supervisor. Chef Frank Paris, previously of the Primland inn in southwestern Virginia, together with Farmville-area native Sydney Motameni will oversee the restaurants.

Farmville and the encompassing Prince Edward County has caught the attention of a couple of hoteliers within the vicinity.

outside of downtown Farmville, Tru through Hilton hotel opened a 106-room facility on South main road – crucial Virginia’s first – a few yr in the past; adopted by a ninety six-room break resort express nearby.

Shifflett stated tourism, activities and increase at Longwood college and Hampden-Sydney school are riding demand for lodge rooms in the enviornment.

“anyway what’s out near U.S. 460, there don’t seem to be many alternatives in Farmville,” he referred to. “That’s what made this such an excellent investment for us, and took so lengthy to plot because we desired to make it more than just a place for an overnight stay.”

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