The South Boston Industrial Development Authority has agreed to apply for $500,000 in historic rehab tax credits toward renovation of the John Randolph Hotel in downtown South Boston.

The Town of South Boston has been looking to renovate the building housing the former John Randolph Hotel into a boutique hotel since 2012.

It took another step in that direction on Thursday after its IDA agreed to apply for $500,000 in historic rehab tax credits toward renovation of the John Randolph Hotel.

The IDA’s action comes on the heels of a Virginia Senate Finance Committee’s vote to kill legislation that would have capped and phased out three state tax credits, including historic rehabilitation credits.

Senator Frank M. Ruff Jr., (R-Clarksville), a member of the finance committee voted to pass on the legislation, essentially a “nay” vote.

Republican Sen. Glen H. Sturtevant Jr. of Richmond proposed the legislation.

Tax credit programs have been vital in efforts to revitalize and rehabilitate buildings throughout Virginia, including South Boston.

The general assembly has allocated $2 million for FY 2018 to be used for the strategic redevelopment of vacant and deteriorated industrial properties, according to South Boston Town Manager Tom Raab.

The Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development (VDHCD) awarded the South Boston IDA $100,000 in grant funding in 2012 to help purchase the property.

A feasibility study later completed and paid for with a $25,000 planning grant concluded the property could work as a boutique hotel.

Town of South Boston officials think the building housing the former John Randolph Hotel is worth renovating, not only for its historical value but also for its use in making downtown a destination.

“This is a highly competitive grant process, but we are hopeful that the town of South Boston’s Industrial Development Authority will be successful,” said Raab. “The hotel will be developed into a boutique hotel with 27 guest rooms, restaurant and roof top bar.”

According to the original application for $100,000 in VDHCD grant funding, the town envisioned the former hotel building as a boutique hotel as contributing to the preservation of the building’s historic features; removal of blight in downtown South Boston; and encouraging neighboring owners of vacant buildings to follow suit and consider renovation options.

Rationale for the project also included eliminating downtown South Boston’s one and only “white elephant;” increasing the tax value of neighboring properties; creating jobs and encouraging private investment in the downtown area; and promoting pedestrian traffic and attracting visitors to downtown South Boston.

The senate committee deferred action on another piece of legislation proposed by Sturtevant, which would have put on a provision to sunset or end the historic rehabilitation tax credit program in 2022 unless the general assembly voted to extend its life.

Doug Ford reports for The Gazette-Virginian. Contact him at

Doug Ford covers news and sports for The Gazette-Virginian. Contact him at