RU Foundation presents plans for hotel on Tyler Avenue

At Monday night’s meeting of Radford City Council, Radford University Foundation officials laid out plans for its $30 million hotel and conference center project planned for foundation property off Tyler Avenue.

The foundation’s Chad Reed led the presentation which was part of a public hearing by council as the university’s foundation is seeking a change in zoning from R-4 multi-family residential to B-2 business for a triangular shaped property owned by the university and bounded by Tyler Avenue, Calhoun Street and Lawrence Street.

The property in question along Tyler currently holds two vacant houses and Calhoun Hall, which is a university administrative office building housing roughly 10 employees. Behind that, between Calhoun and Lawrence is a 100-space gravel parking area and a 54-bed apartment complex which is leased from the foundation.

In that area RU’s Foundation plans to construct a 125-room full-service hotel that will feature five stories, a rooftop lounge and fitness center that will be for university and community use. On street level, the hotel will feature a three-meal-a-day restaurant, lounge and coffee shop, also for university and community use.

Beside the hotel will be a 5,000 square foot conference and meeting space with business center and a visitor center.

The project completion date is expected in late 2023.

Reed said the full-service hotel would attract a new segment to the market in Radford.

“There’s not a full-service hotel in the region any longer,” Reed stated. “There were some in the past, but not any longer. So, we’re looking to attract outside groups to the Radford community that we are losing to Blacksburg and Christiansburg. Oftentimes we have visitors to the university, whether it be traveling athletic teams or contractors – anyone we do business with and oftentimes they stay in Blacksburg and Christiansburg because they look for something of a higher quality than we have.”

Reed said the hotel’s average daily room rate for the first year would be about $147 and would increase by year five – adjusted for inflation – to $174.

The hotel will include 88,000 square feet besides the 5,000 square foot conference center. The foundation anticipates 45,000 hotel guests annually and creation of 35 full-time equivalent hotel jobs.

While the property currently generates no tax revenue for the city, Reed said the foundation estimates that in year one the city will receive nearly $300,000 in room and meal taxes, and by year five that number would grow to about $380,000.

For the anticipated 50-year life of the project, Reed said it is estimated the city would receive nearly $30 million in room and meals taxes.

The planned hotel is part of the Intercontinental Hospitality Group (IHG) which features the Kimpton brand, their flagship brand Intercontinental, the Holiday Inn chain down to the Holiday Inn Express and the Hotel Indigo brand which is planned for Radford.

It was mentioned during the presentation that Hotel Indigo officials are excited about the project as it is the only Hotel Indigo that will be under development for at least the next 24 months.

Reed said the company’s Hotel Indigo brand resonates with the Radford community as an upscale boutique brand full-service hotel that he said would include a reflection of the local community.

“It would be the highest quality hotel in the region outside of Roanoke,” Reed added.

By MIKE WILLIAMS, The Patriot