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RICHMOND—Governor Ralph Northam is celebrating the grand opening of The Sessions Hotel in Bristol, Virginia, a project that will be supported by the Virginia Tourism Corporation’s Tourism Development Financing Program and reflects a total capital investment of $23 million and 75 new, full-time equivalent jobs.
The Tourism Development Financing Program is a gap financing program for larger-scale tourism development projects geared toward fostering partnerships with developers, localities, financial institutions, and the Virginia Resources Authority. The Sessions Hotel is the eighth project approved under this program.
The Sessions Hotel is expected to spur approximately $2.8 million in annual direct economic impact from traveler spending and a projected local tax benefit of nearly $556,019 during the first full year of operation.
“The Sessions Hotel is a welcome addition to Virginia’s ever-growing travel and tourism industries,” said Governor Northam. “Tourism development is critical to rebuilding our economy and positioning the Commonwealth as a premier travel destination. Projects like this will help Bristol attract more visitors and businesses, bringing new jobs, and generating significant economic impact for the region.”
Developed by Creative Boutique Hotels, LLC, The Sessions Hotel is a member of Tribute Portfolio, Marriott International’s newest collection brand. The property is comprised of three historic buildings: the 1920s Jobbers Candy Factory, the 1915 Bristol Grocery building, and the 1922 Service Granary Mill. The Sessions Hotel has 70 high-end guest rooms, restaurant and bar, salon and day spa, barbershop, and a rooftop bar. In addition, the hotel will have a music and event venue with an outdoor performance stage created through a partnership with famed musician Jim Lauderdale.
“Prior to the pandemic, travelers to Bristol alone spent $59 million, which provided over 500 work opportunities and resulted in $4.5 million in state and local taxes in 2019,” said Secretary of Commerce and Trade Brian Ball. “With the opening of The Sessions Hotel, more and more visitors will now be able to come to Bristol, stay longer, and spend more money, and this will help grow and support the region.”
The Sessions Hotel is named for the 1927 Sessions, which were a series of recordings that led to the ‘Big Bang’ of Country Music and thus leading to Bristol being named the Birthplace of Country Music. Today, Bristol is home to the Bristol Rhythm and Roots Music Festival.
“We’ve taken our time and perfected the overall guest experience with curated art, repurposed items from the buildings into functional pieces, designed creative, and high-end amenities that tell the story of the buildings and Bristol,” said Kimberly Christner, partner in the project and President and CEO of Cornerstone Hospitality. “Our guests will leave having a truly unique experience to share, and return with friends and family. Our team is more passionate than ever to share the Sessions’ experience with visitors far and wide.
“This is an important addition to the City of Bristol and will enhance the traveler experience by offering a unique, modern lodging option for both business and leisure travelers,” said Rita McClenny, President and CEO of Virginia Tourism Corporation. “Travelers who love music, arts, culture, and outdoor adventures, will now have a fantastic place to stay after a busy day of taking in all Bristol has to offer.”
“The Sessions Hotel has created one of the most unique visitor experiences in the Commonwealth, which reinforces Bristol’s music heritage and sense of place,” said Bristol Mayor Bill Hartley. “The Sessions Hotel is the perfect addition to our community, as the adaptive reuse of these buildings preserves the character of our historic downtown while highlighting Bristol’s living musical heritage as the Birthplace of County Music.”
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