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New life for Hotel Weyanoke

Plans have been made public to convert the existing Hotel Weyanoke building — located at 202 High St. in Farmville — into a high-end hotel facility.

According to property co-owner Ross Fickenscher, “as recently speculated upon, we have decided to change the use of the property. Our anticipated project is to convert the property back into a hotel.”

Fickenscher informed the Farmville Town Council of his plans on Dec. 9.

Two restaurants are currently housed in the building — Bar 202 and Badeaux’s Cajun Kitchen.

Fickenscher said plans include a 70-room facility.

The historic property will be converted into 27 rooms and 43 additional rooms will be added in the rear of the building, he said.

Currently a total of 30 rooms are located in the building.

The proposed facility plans to include banquet facilities, a conference room and an upscale restaurant.

“We’re really excited about it,” said Fickenscher. He said the hotel will draw parallels to the existing Craddock-Terry Hotel in Lynchburg, using it as a model.

“We believe that it will have a similar effect in Farmville as the Craddock Terry has in Lynchburg,” Fickenscher said. “We are working with the same management company that manages that property, and in fact we’re even working with the same architect.”

Fickenscher said he believes the hotel will provide additional economic growth in the Farmville community and provide an additional attraction as a reason for people to visit.

When Mayor David Whitus asked Fickenscher to address his plans for parking, he said, “We’ll have limited parking on-site, but we are working currently with adjacent property owners and other bodies to establish a parking plan. Certainly we understand the need for parking. …” Fickenscher said the financing agent will require more parking.

The idea was also discussed to lease parking from the Town of Farmville’s municipal lot at a rate of $30 per month for 60 spaces; however, Fickenscher said a deal was still being negotiated.

“Part of our plan is to put a half-circle drive in the front of the property. The historic brick work will remain in its majority, the stairs will remain, but it will be very opportunitive for the guests to pull up and drop their bags and drop their car and have valet service to the parking location,” said Fickenscher.

He said the current building has tenants renting or leasing through May 2016, however, there are hopes to close on construction financing immediately after.

The project timeline will include a construction start date of Summer 2016, followed by a completion date of Summer 2017.

“Will we have a place for students?” questioned Ward B Council Member Sally Thompson. “Will there be a student bar or facility in the corner like there has been where 202 [Bar] was?”

In response, Fickenscher said he preferred not to speak on the issue.

“We congratulate you,” said Whitus. “We’re glad that you’re looking at revamping the property.”

Fickenscher said a cost estimate has not been determined because the project is in its early stages.