BRISTOL, TN/VA (WJHL)- In the heart of downtown Bristol, you’ll see crews breathing life back in to a nearly-century old building.
By this time next year Bristol, Va.’s “Downtown Executive Plaza” is set to be a 65-room boutique hotel.
Beth Rhinehart, President & CEO of the Bristol Chamber of Commerce said this is the first hotel downtown and another key piece of downtown’s revitalization.
“Those are all buildings that were built and used at a time when we are talking about the Bristol Sessions so bringing back a little bit of history that’s really important to Bristol,” Jessica Turner, museum director for the Birthplace of Country Music Museum said.
The hotel sits next to the Birthplace of Country Music Museum.
“For us it will mean a lot of traffic passing back-and-forth with the museum and it’ll really help to complete the look of that block downtown so that it becomes this vibrant area of downtown Bristol,” Turner said.
The developers said they plan to weave in Bristol’s storied past to the DNA of the hotel.
“That process really reminds this community of its history and why that’s important and how we want to bring that character back to Bristol,” Turner said.
“The impact of the train on Bristol was a huge component of the development so bringing in those types of local flavor are going to be reflected throughout the entire building,” Shari Brown said. Brown is the project coordinator for JA Street and Associates General Contractor, one of the contractors working on the hotel.
While the museum and the hotel are bringing the past back to life, they are also looking toward the future.
“We’ve had discussions with them on the kinds of spaces for meetings that they will have at the hotel and what we can do at the museum to complement those so that we won’t have competing spaces but complementary spaces,” Turner said.
One of the features of the new hotel is a rooftop bar and restaurant.
“We don’t have anything like that in town and the view from the roof of that building is amazing,” Brown said.
The hotel is now set to open in spring of 2018. Early on this project was set to be done late summer of this year. But Brown said because it’s a historic building, it took longer than expected for the historic tax credit review to be completed. Brown said this review had to be done before work could start to ensure they weren’t harming, removing or covering any contributing historic component of the building.
And that block of downtown might have more renovations coming. The Birthplace of Country Music Museum is currently raising money to expand in to the old building between the museum and what will be the new Bristol Hotel.
When the renovation is done, Turner said the museum will be able to offer even more than it does now, especially when it comes to education.
“We’ll have office space, we’ll have education space, we’ll have expanded exhibit space, so there’s a lot of functionality that will help us to really expand what goes on in the museum now,” Turner said.
Turner said the budget for the annex right now is $4 million.Copyright 2017 WJHL. ALL Rights Reserved.