In early July 2016, ground was broken in downtown St. Paul for a long-awaited $7.3 million boutique hotel that will be called the Western Front Hotel. This project is a result of the hard work and drive of local leaders to take revitalization of downtown St. Paul into their own hands, embracing a community-initiated development approach to create real change to the economy based on local and regional assets, such as the architecture and surrounding natural landscape.
A member of the development team, Kimberly Christner, president of Cornerstone Hospitality, said the heart and determination that her company saw in the people of St. Paul drew them to the little town between the Clinch River and the Spearhead Trail.
“There are a ton of things happening there [St. Paul], but what really sold us were the people,” Christner said. “St. Paul was willing to help us in the process of getting this done and they are really forward-thinking. The town and the people are all on the same page, they were even ahead of our thought process for this project.”
The hotel is an adaptive-reuse of the historic Willis and Dye buildings, a former mixed-use commercial building with 22 apartments and six store fronts. Once finished, the hotel will have 33 rooms, a restaurant, rooftop bar and dining and outdoor entertainment spaces. The hotel opening is projected for April 2017.
St. Paul is a Virginia Main Street community designated in 2011. Embracing the Main Street Approach to revitalize downtown is just part of the plan to enhance the area with additional development, create great spaces and provide an environment in which sustainable growth can occur.