Governor Terry McAuliffe today announced that more than $12.2 million will be invested in Farmville to establish the Hotel Weyanoke, creating 76 new jobs and spurring an economic impact of more than $7 million in annual traveler spending. The project will receive support through the Virginia Tourism Corporation's (VTC) Tourism Development Financing Program (TDFP), a gap financing program for larger-scale tourism development projects, geared toward fostering partnerships with developers, localities, financial institutions, the Virginia Resources Authority and VTC. The project reflects a projected tax benefit of over $500,000 in its first full year of operation. The hotel is slated to open in the spring of 2018.
"Virginia is a premier global travel destination and tourism is an indispensable diversifier for the state's economy, generating $23 billion in revenue annually," said Governor McAuliffe. "Projects like the Hotel Weyanoke are instant revenue generators for the Commonwealth and our communities, and this new accommodation will complement the existing tourism attractions that make the Farmville area so special. I congratulate the City of Farmville on this great tourism win for Virginia."
The developers of Hotel Weyanoke will rehabilitate and convert an existing 27,000 square foot building at 202 High Street, and construct a 30,000 square foot addition on the same property. Once completed, the hotel will include 70 well-appointed hotel rooms and four unique food and beverage venues including: Sassafras, a bakery and market; Humble Pie, an artisanal pizza grill and market featuring locally-sourced organic ingredients and family recipes; Campagna, an Italian trattoria and tasting room; and The Bridge, a rooftop refreshment retreat.
"The Hotel Weyanoke project will provide travelers with a fantastic new lodging option in historic downtown Farmville," said Todd Haymore, Secretary of Commerce and Trade. "At the local level, visitors to the Farmville area spent more than $20 million in 2015 and the addition of Hotel Weyanoke will boost spending as well as provide valuable jobs and increased tax revenue. We welcome the Hotel Weyanoke to Farmville and look forward to it contributing to the region's economy."
The Virginia Tourism Development Financing Program works by allowing approved tourism projects to temporarily retain a portion of state and local tax revenue generated from the project, combined with a matching contribution from the developer, to provide gap financing for up to 30% of the project's total cost. This is the fifth project approved under the Commonwealth's TDFP.
Through the TDFP program, the Hotel Weyanoke, the Town of Farmville and the Commonwealth will share matching contributions toward the project, based on one percent of the hotel's quarterly revenue. Over the course of the projects' gap lending, each entity will contribute an estimated $916,700 over a ten year period.
"It is exciting to see a historic establishment like the Hotel Weyanoke being revived to new life in our town," said David E. Whitus, Mayor of Farmville. "Along with creating jobs, it will be an establishment that will attract visitors and residents alike, spurring economic growth. It will be added to the list of all the characteristics that make Farmville a great place to live, work and play."
"The Hotel Weyanoke will fill a much needed void of lodging, dining, entertainment and meeting space, and is itself, a historic attraction," said Ross Fickenscher, co-owner of the Hotel Weyanoke. "Located in downtown Farmville, the Weyanoke will hosts guest who can easily walk to nearby Main Street shops, Green Front Furniture, the Moton Museum, Longwood University, the Sarah Terry Trail, High Bridge Trail State Park, The Longwood Center for the Visual Arts, and more. This will be a new, exciting experience for visitors to stay longer, eat, shop and experience Farmville in a new way."
"Today's announcement is wonderful news for Farmville and for Longwood, and just the latest milestone of momentum in our community," said Longwood President W. Taylor Revely IV. "A new wine bar and brewery, the Longwood bookstore moving to North Main Street, a spate of new construction on campus and in town all demonstrate the great steps we are taking together. The new Weyanoke Hotel will be a jewel in the crown of a vibrant and revitalized downtown, attracting visitors who will discover and rediscover this great place."
"The Hotel Weyanoke project will further fuel the redevelopment efforts and growth occurring in downtown Farmville by providing a high-end hotel option to downtown, not currently available," said Gerry Spates, Town Manager of Farmville. "The Hotel Weyanoke will also provide new jobs, increase our local tax base, and be a source of pride for the Town of Farmville to be enjoyed by the local community, the residents of the Commonwealth of Virginia, and interstate travelers."
For more information on the Virginia Tourism Development Financing Program, please click here.