FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: October 6, 2023
Lynchburg, VA – The City of Lynchburg and the Economic Development Authority of the City of Lynchburg (EDA) have received a 2023 Excellence in Economic Development Silver Award for the redevelopment of The Virginian Hotel from the International Economic Development Council (IEDC).
“The City of Lynchburg has raised the bar for excellence in economic development with The Virginian Hotel Redevelopment Project. This award is a testament to the City of Lynchburg and the EDA’s dedication to its residents and serves as a great example of how economic development can help transform a community for the better,” said Nathan Ohle, IEDC President and CEO. “It is IEDC’s honor and privilege to present the City of Lynchburg and the EDA with this award and recognize their leadership and innovation in the field of economic development!”
Every year IEDC looks specifically for economic development organizations, government entities, initiatives, and programs that have demonstrated consistent, exemplary performance in the economic development profession, leading the execution of projects that have a significant impact on revitalizing communities, and playing a major role in shaping and improving the practice of economic development. The award was bestowed specifically for the organization’s work in the Real Estate Redevelopment & Reuse category for communities with a population range of 25,000 to 200,000 residents.
The Virginian Hotel originally opened in 1913 as Lynchburg’s premier grand downtown hotel. In 2018, developers Blair Godsey and George Stanley opened the fully restored Hilton Curio Virginian Hotel in Downtown Lynchburg, a property that had been shuttered for several years after serving various purposes since the 1970s.
As noted in the award application, the redevelopment of the Virginian Hotel was a $25 million-dollar capital investment. Now in its fifth year of operation, the Virginian Hotel boasts 115 guest rooms and suites, three restaurants, and a historic ballroom that hosts weddings, conferences and events up to 440 guests and supports over 80 full-time jobs.
“The Virginian Hotel has undergone a remarkable transformation, emerging as a beacon of hospitality and a shining example of a successful public-private partnership. Originally established in 1913, this historic hotel is in the heart of the City’s downtown. The redevelopment of this property yielded a true tourism economic engine with a Curio Collection by Hilton brand, 115 well-appointed hotel rooms, state-of-the-art meeting and event facilities and a trio of exceptional restaurants,” said Marjette Upshur, Director of Economic Development & Tourism for the City of Lynchburg.
“I commend the unwavering vision and tenacity of George Stanley and Blair Godsey, who meticulously restored this cherished gem. Their dedication and attention to detail have breathed new life into this iconic establishment, preserving its rich history while infusing it with modern amenities to be enjoyed by all of our citizens and visitors, which was not always the case in the past. Countless memories have been created within these walls, and thanks to prudent investments and exceptional management, we can eagerly anticipate the creation of many more in the years to come,” Upshur said.
About the Economic Development Authority of the City of Lynchburg
The Economic Development Authority is a political subdivision of the Commonwealth of Virginia and serves as the incentive arm of the City of Lynchburg. The Authority actively pursues investment and development opportunities, and elevates the economic development profile of the City. Authority members are appointed by City Council and may serve up to three consecutive four year terms. Learn more at www.opportunitylynchburg.com.
About the International Economic Development Council
The International Economic Development Council (IEDC) is a non-profit, non-partisan membership organization serving economic developers. With more than 4,300 members, IEDC is the largest organization of its kind. Economic developers promote economic well-being and quality of life for their communities by creating, retaining, and expanding jobs that facilitate growth, enhance wealth, and provide a stable tax base. From public to private, rural to urban, and local to international, IEDC’s members engage in the full range of economic development practices. Given the breadth of economic development work, our members are employed in various settings, including local, state, provincial, and federal governments, public-private partnerships, chambers of commerce, universities, and a variety of other institutions. When we succeed, our members create high-quality jobs, develop vibrant communities, and improve the quality of life in their regions. Learn more at www.iedconline.org.
Office of Economic Development & Tourism