St. Paul, Virginia – Governor Terry McAuliffe announced that the first recipient of the Virginia Tourism Growth Fund (VTGF) will be the Western Front Hotel in St. Paul, Virginia. The VTGF is a Virginia Tourism Corporation (VTC) program established to grow tourism development projects across the Commonwealth of Virginia. The grant is a partnership between the State of Virginia, the Town of St. Paul and the developers. The grant awarded was for $250,000.
Virginia-based Creative Boutique Hotels (CBH) is the developer and owner of the project. CBH is a partnership which includes MB Contractors who will handle the construction; Hal Craddock and Architectural Partners who will handle the design plan; and Cornerstone Hospitality who will manage the interior design, product services and operations. The project is also utilizing State and Federal Historic Tax Credits, a low interest loan from Virginia Coalfield Economic Development Authority (VACEDA) and various grants from other state agencies. “In a small community, projects like the Western Front Hotel would not be possible without the use of various forms of grants and tax credits. They just are not viable through a traditional equity and lending process,” said Todd Morgan, MB Contractors. “We’re fortunate to have access to these resources in Virginia and that we have a very dynamic group of people to work with in St. Paul.”
The Western Front Hotel project fills a major lodging void in St. Paul’s local tourism economy and will feature 35 boutique hotel rooms including short stay suites, community gathering spaces, rooftop bar, outdoor recreation area, restaurant, outdoor dining and a gift shop featuring locally made art. The hotel will be housed in two historic buildings that will be combined to offer a unique boutique hotel experience. The design will target all age demographics but lean toward the experiential traveler seeking outdoor adventures. “We intend to provide an interior design that is in keeping with nature, the local community and something that is comfortable and an experience all its own,” said Kimberly Christner, of Cornerstone Hospitality. “Repurposed items will be used throughout the spaces to create a comfortable and relaxing environment, yet feel cool and hip.”
“When we developed the Craddock Terry Hotel, downtown Lynchburg, Virginia, we paid about $696 in taxes for the property. That hotel and restaurant complex now pays more than $700,000 annually, not including spin off revenues and taxes collected from other businesses as a result of the development,” said Hal Craddock. “Projects like these are game changers and economic business drivers. They can bring a downtown community back to life.”
Speaking about today’s announcement, Governor McAuliffe said, “Growing our tourism industry is an essential strategy for diversifying and building a new Virginia economy. It is critical that our destinations have the infrastructure in place to welcome travelers from around the world.”
St. Paul, Virginia is home to the Spearhead Trails, which offers more than 100 miles of trails for ATV riders and hikers. Additionally, the town sits on the Clinch River, one of the most bio-diverse rivers in the world and in which scientists and bio-educators travel great distances to study. These attractions plus scenic hiking trails, cycling, kayaking, canoeing, fishing, local breweries, the Lyric Theatre, farmer markets, beautiful mountain views and the fact that St. Paul allows ATV riders to drive their ATV from the trail through town, make it very attractive.
“After visiting the area several times over the last couple of years, we entrenched ourselves in the rich history of this small Southwest Virginia town once known as the Western Front. We fell in love with the area, the people and the community. We wanted to tell the story through an authentic hospitality experience.” said Kimberly Christner.
The Western Front Hotel is scheduled to open in April 2017. Contact: