Former John Randolph Hotel

Former John Randolph Hotel 

Plans for redevelopment of the former John Randolph Hotel in South Boston took a big leap forward Monday with the award of $475,000 in industrial revitalization funding to the Industrial Development Authority of South Boston.

Gov. Terry McAuliffe announced Monday $1.45 million in Industrial Revitalization Fund awards for three localities, including the IDA of South Boston, and the towns of Big Stone Gap and Cape Charles, each receiving $475,000 and $500,000.

The funding provides gap financing for construction projects aligned with local and regional economic development strategies, primarily in economically distressed communities.

“This is wonderful news,” and “it’s one more step toward redevelopment of the John Randolph Hotel,” said South Boston Town Manager Tom Raab on Monday.

Raab said the town also has applied for $1 million in grant funding from the tobacco commission, adding the town has not yet received word on that request.

“That would be the next piece of the puzzle,” Raab explained.

The town of South Boston has been looking to renovate the building housing the former John Randolph Hotel into a boutique hotel since 2012, and the town’s IDA agreed to apply for $500,000 in historic rehab tax credits toward renovation of the John Randolph Hotel in February.

The IDA’s action came 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.

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 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.

Plans include developing the property 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.

Comments disabled.