One year after Lynchburg City Council voted to enter into a performance agreement to fund $5.9 million in roadwork for Rosedale, the developer is seeking a hotel for the 70-acre mixed-use development on Graves Mill Road.
Near the intersection with Old Graves Mill Road in Lynchburg, Rosedale’s developer aims to attract a hotel, apartments, townhomes, a trendy grocery store, restaurants, a brewery and other office space.
Developer Dick Schoew, also president of real estate development company Hopkins Brothers, said ideally the hotel would offer 80 rooms, with 75 percent being single rooms and 25 percent being suite-style with architecture that is complementary to a proposed Bella Rose event center.
Rosedale developer seeking hotel for Graves Mill Road site
Reporter: Rachael Smith
Lynchburg News & Advance
October 10, 2017
Schoew said the goal is not to make the development into a mall but a town center similar to the Boar’s Head resort in Charlottesville so new businesses will be attracted to the space. So far, about $6 million has been put into infrastructure.
“We’re betting we will be successful,” Schoew said. “We have to take one step at a time to plug in an apartment builder.”
Money reimbursed to Hopkins Brothers for construction of the road will come from tax revenue generated by the Rosedale property and the adjacent Bella Rose Plantation and Events Center during the course of 15 years, according to the performance agreement. Up until the first $3 million is paid out, the city will reimburse Hopkins Brothers 75 percent of annual tax revenue, and afterward, the city will return 55 percent of the collected tax revenue. This will continue up until the cap of $5,879,794 is reached or the 15-year agreement comes to an end.
The arrangement resembles the performance agreement between the developers of The Virginian hotel and the city for $5 million in gap financing for the project.
Schoew said he hopes to break ground on the road next spring but cannot do that until a hotel signs on as there needs to be development on the property before a road can be built.
The city will be reimbursed for the $5.9 million from what is gained in Rosedale taxes.
“The agreement with the city is to all of this together,” he said. “The city wants to see a place that will be destination for businesses when they come to town.”
Schoew said by the time the development is completed, it will extend back to the Stonemill Apartments on the expressway.
“We’re trying to develop a Golden Mile, an entrepreneurial mile that goes from here all the way to the expressway that [will] become a main street for the newest thing Lynchburg has to offer,” he said.
Schoew said a hotel group has been identified that would be a good fit for the town center. He said he could not disclose the name of the hotel group at this time.
Mayor Joan Foster, who has been supportive of the development since the beginning, said she was happy to hear the hope of getting a hotel in Rosedale is becoming a reality.
“Hopefully if we have businesses come in, which I hope they will, with Bella Rose and things happening in that location, other pieces will hopefully fall into place,” she said.
With the proposed event center at Bella Rose, people will need a place close by to stay, she added.
“It’s exciting news that that’s in the works,” she said.
Brian Runk, owner of Bella Rose, said the wedding and conference venue is the first anchor on the Rosedale property and has become the face of what more could happen there.
“When developers are interested in Rosedale, we’re always involved in how we could complement that,” he said. “We partner with them on the creative side. We are the business anchor of Rosedale so we can show what can be there and what the potential can be.”
When the hotel is built, it directly will benefit the proposed Bella Rose event center, which Lynchburg City Council approved earlier this year.
The event center is planned to hold between 300 and 400 people.
“The hotel is great for our guests,” Runk said. “Everything would be close by and on shared access so everything flows. Having the hotel there would facilitate the growth of everything already going on.”
“It’s a fabulous property,” he said, speaking of Rosedale. “The challenge of the property was always: how can you afford all of the improvements that need to be made along Graves Mill so it doesn’t turn into another Wards Road?”
Foster said the city is experiencing development in different pockets, and she finds that exciting.
“We are growing in population, there is increased quality of life and people are interested in Lynchburg,” she said. “When they come to visit, they fall in love with the city.”
She hopes in the future, poverty rates can be driven down and income can be driven up. She said she remains hopeful the development is on-track and will come to fruition.
“I’m hoping City Council now and in the future will pay close attention to growth issues and smart development, and so far, we have,” she said.
Schoew said once a hotel comes, the rest of the development will come together with townhomes and apartments.
It is possible, Schoew said, between now and Thanksgiving, he could find a group that wants to buy the entire property, but there is a better chance there will be several participants who want one piece.
“We put a value on the whole property because anyone looking at the property will always ask what we would take for the whole thing, and that’s $4.8 million,” he said.
Schoew said getting a hotel in the city anywhere other than on Wards Road is an accomplishment.
“We feel we have cleared that bar,” he said. “We now have a hotel that would be very desirable as an extension of Bella Rose.”
Schoew has been working with Taylor Long Properties in Richmond to bring several buyers who are interested in buying part of the property for development with the understanding the first priority is to build the hotel.
“If you’re going to build a town center, and it’s going to be a place where new businesses can set up, you need a hotel,” he said.