ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ) – Rocky Mount’s latest revitalization project took a step forward Monday night.
The town council vacated a section of Angle Street to the Rocky Mount Hotel. The hotel will be the first built in the town’s downtown.
The 12-room hotel is currently under construction in a former furniture warehouse at the corner of Claiborne Avenue and Franklin Street. When renovations are complete, the century-old building will hold the hotel, alongside a restaurant, mercantile and tasting room, “which is going to be focusing in on Franklin County products,” said Phillip Bane, the project’s developer.
Bane imagines guests enjoying their suites in the historic building, or popping up to see the sweeping views on the building’s rooftop.
“If they want to have their coffee the morning, they’ll be able to watch the sun come up, which I’ve done,” he said.
According to Bane, the hotel project has been in the works for six years now.
“Anytime we have an opportunity to grown our downtown area we take advantage of it,” said Assistant Town Manager Mark Moore.
Moore says the hotel project represents a step forward in the towns redevelopment goals.
It’s “an opportunity to retain tourists for several days,” he said. “That’s always important for economic development and tourism.”
As to why now, with the pandemic still raging and tourism down, Moore says this is an opportunity to plan for the future, “to kind of strategically look at how we want to move forward after the pandemic and what we want our community to look like.”
“Even though there’s a pandemic, people still want to go places,” said Bane.
Bane says he’s also prepared to be flexible. All 12 hotel rooms include a living room, kitchen and bedroom. That means the hotel could be converted to apartments if the economic winds shift.
However, Bane stresses that’s just a backup plan. He hopes to have the hotel and associated businesses up and running by Christmas.
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