Bristol leaders unveil new downtown hotel

Bristol leaders unveil new downtown hotel

BRISTOL, Va. - Visitors to Bristol will have a new place to stay starting in the spring of 2015.

The Sessions Hotel, a 70-room boutique hotel, will take over a block of downtown Bristol that at the moment is nothing more than run-down buildings.

The $19 million dollar development, who gets its name from the 1927 Bristol Sessions, is as much modern amenity as it is historic landmark, and it's generating plenty of excitement for city leaders and the project developers. "We want to be able to tell the story about the community, about the buildings they are in and for people to be able to have an experience they can't have anywhere else," said Kimberly Christner.

Christner's group, Creative Boutique Hotels, plans to preserve existing buildings at the corner of State Street and Commonwealth Avenue. The KSS building will be razed, but the Owen Equipment facility, Jobbers Candy, and the Mill will become a unique place to eat and sleep according to architect Hal Craddock. "We're going to join these three very different buildings and create a complex, that I think will make it much more exciting, much more of a destination. Something people will want to explore," Christner said.

The plans also call for a rooftop bar, two restaurants, and a spa, giving downtown Bristol something it's never had before. "It's just another piece of the puzzle. It makes downtown a vibrant and vital part of our city. And so it's just going to continue to grow," said Bristol mayor Guy Odum. "We believe that people are going to start moving out toward the west end as this grows to increase our footprint downtown."

A growing footprint is something that Cranberry Lane owner and downtown resident Karen Hester is excited to see, because it means more people will want to hit State Street. "We obviously want to keep them here as long as we can. And to have a nice lodging place and additional restaurants for them to eat, that's the key to downtown," said Hester.

Christner said rooms will go for between $130 to $150 a night and they plan to start construction in early 2014.

Bristol, Virginia will contribute $1.2 million to the project, but only after the Sessions Hotel is open for business and generating revenue.

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