Botetourt County eyes possible large scale hotel and conference center

County leaders say clear need is present for space in Exit 150 area

By Shayne Dwyer - Reporter

BOTETOURT Co., Va. - Another big project may be on the horizon in Botetourt County as leaders there are looking into building a large scale hotel and conference center. It would be in the vicinity of Exit 150 in the Daleville area.

The county is in talks with some property owners in the area so they have a few sites in mind, but there are no specifics they can share just yet. They're also talking to developers who show interest in the project. They need to make a marriage between developer and property to make it happen, and they want to move quickly with a 2020 open date in mind.

Lower Botetourt County is one of the hotbeds of growth in the Roanoke region. If you need proof, just stop into Tizzone Wood Fired Kitchen and Bar at the Daleville Town Center for lunch or dinner. Tables are full and the pizza makers are busy. It's clear business is strong.

"We have our regulars of course, but we get first time guests everyday that are coming through and often will go to one of these other businesses and end up here," Tizzone Manager Brandon Linthicum said.

The needs of the county are growing; people are moving in, businesses are setting up major offices, and sports tourism continues to boom. The county has been thinking about this for a while, and in 2017 commissioned a feasibility study to see if the market could handle it. The study is nearing the end of the draft phase and it points to good signs. The research points to the strong possibility of a successful hotel and conference center in Botetourt County. They're looking at 200 rooms and 40,000 square feet of event space.

"We see a need for this type of facility here in Botetourt County," Botetourt County Director of Economic Development Ken McFadyen said. "All the commercial development that is here and is coming, we think this is a logical next step to redevelop the Exit 150 area."

It's projected to be the second largest conference space in the region, runner up only to the Hotel Roanoke. The county said the proposed conference center wouldn't go up to take business away from the current hotel market, rather complement the existing lineup with a new location. The study shows it could work and others agree.

"Botetourt County has been able to accomplish a lot in the last four to five years, it's really starting to grow and the need is there," Visit Virginia's Blue Ridge spokeswoman Catherine Fox said.

The project would require more than $30 million and is estimated to bring in about $10 million in the first 10 years. The county has been shopping the project by some developers and there is interest, but it will require some sort of private-public partnership, although that detail is not ironed all the way out.

"A developer from Tennessee has indicated to us that if a public investment for this project was not necessary, the project would've already happened," McFadyen said.

Tizonne and its partner business, the Daleville Tap House, were early investors in the vision for lower Botetourt County. They call their work conscious capitalism, creating a foundation for something big.

"Seeing things like this is showing that investment in the community is getting better," Linthicum said. "The community is growing and there is more opportunity to continue to better the community as we go, so the investment is really coming through."

McFadyen said the county is talking with hotel chains and said the county wants a business class hotel to fill the spot.

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