Hotel and convention center proposed in Petersburg

PETERSBURG, VA (WWBT) - A $50 million hotel and convention center could soon be built in our area.

The city of Petersburg and Virginia State University are teaming up to make the project a reality. The hotel and convention center would be built in the Bollingbrook/Bank Street area -- on property that once housed a car dealership.

The property has been vacant for nearly a year. It's across the street from Marcus Shuford's job.

"It's not a pretty sight to see the empty lot. It'll be nice to having something there," said Shuford.

A feasibility study is expected to be done.

"That will let us know how much it'll cost, options for funding, and if there are developers interested in bringing money to the table," said Petersburg Mayor, Brian Moore.

Results from the study will help the city and university decide on whether to move forward with the project.

The hotel and convention center would stretch two city blocks.

The hotel would have 200 rooms, banquet facility, and shops.

Nicole Bell: "Is there a real need for such a structure in Petersburg?"
Mayor Brian Moore: "I think so. We got to think forward not only our current needs but to think 5,10,15 years in the future."

Recently the city's most prominent hotel, The Fort Lee Regency, shutdown shop.

"Some of the hotel closures, the hotels are 30 to 40 years old and not a regional destination hotel," said Moore.

Shuford says, in order to fill those hotel rooms the city needs more tourist attractions.

"Once we get other things going on people may come and bring more business to the area," he added.

Cindy and Jerry Pittard agree.

They own an antique shop across the street from the proposed site of the hotel and convention center.

"I look forward to something going up - I really do as long as it benefits the city," said Cindy.

On Tuesday city council will vote on whether to move forward with that feasibility study.

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