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Sessions Hotel Will Be Bristol's "Welcome Mat"

December 19, 2013
There was a time in Bristol’s history, when the focus was on hospitality. In the early 1900s, the rails brought visitors to town and, with a grand hotel on virtually every corner, those visitors were encouraged to linger in the City, purchase goods and services and enjoy a hot meal in a myriad of restaurants.

Bristol’s past played into the hands of its future today, as officials with the City of Bristol, Virginia, and the partners of Creative Boutique Hotels (CBH) which include Hal Craddock, Cornerstone Hospitality and MB Contractors, announced that the Roanoke, Virginia partnership will transform the 800 block of State Street into a destination hospitality complex centered around a 70-room luxury boutique hotel, The Sessions Hotel.

“At one time in America's history, almost every small town or city had a popular and successful hotel in their downtown, said Hal Craddock, CBH.

“We want to bring that dynamic back to life in Bristol,” he added. “Sessions Hotel will serve as a "welcome mat" for Bristol, as well as add another layer of interest to the vibrant, downtown community,” he said.

The complex will span nearly the entire 800 block of State Street and 15 Commonwealth Avenue, encompassing the properties that currently include the Owen Equipment building and adjacent parking lot, KSS, Jobbers Candy, and the Mill. Additional details will dramatically transform the downtown streetscape, including a courtyard and an arched entry to the hotel parking lot, as well as new retail and residential buildings.

The Sessions Hotel will be a destination hospitality complex, blurring the line between “old” and “new” with architectural design and detail relevant to Bristol’s history. Featuring 70 upscale hotel rooms, a spa and a restaurant, the hotel will also boast a music stage and green space venues, a roof top garden café, and roof top bar.

“The rooftop bar will provide a view of Bristol few have seen,” said Craddock. “The first time we visited, and as we came back for events like Bristol Rhythm and Roots, we all agreed a rooftop bar had to be included in our plans,” he added.

Craddock, is the developer of the acclaimed Craddock Terry Hotel and Event Center in Lynchburg, which consistently maintains an 80% occupancy rate year round and has won numerous awards

“Visitors want to get a sense that the city has some history about it, and that buildings from the past are escorting the city into the future, and not being eliminated in the name of progress,” said Craddock.

“We believe that the history of Bristol should be preserved through the adaptive reuse of buildings,” he added.

“As visitors travel to Bristol, they are increasingly in search of the authentic, quintessential Bristol experience,” said Matthew Bolas, Executive Director, Bristol Convention & Visitor’s Bureau.

“They want to dive into the city at street-level: following the trail of unique eateries; straining to hear the chords emanating from behind the doors of a friendly pub; or perusing the work of local artists who creatively distill the essence of the city they call home,” he added.

“With State Street being anchored by the Sessions Hotel, the historic Bristol Sign, and the Birthplace of Country Music Museum, there will be an almost magnetic pull of visitors throughput the entire length and breadth of our City,” he said.

“Our objective is to work in smaller towns and cities to redevelop downtown communities by restoring historic buildings and converting them into unique boutique hotels,” said Kimberly Christner of Cornerstone Hospitality.

“The Sessions Hotel property in Bristol is a great historic property, and we are anxious to become immersed in all that Bristol has to offer,” added Todd Morgan of MB Contractors.

Construction will begin on the Sessions Hotel by March, with a projected opening date of Spring 2015.

According to Bristol, Virginia Assistant City Manager, Andrew Trivette, the Sessions Hotel will provide a strong economic boost to the City.

“CBH will be investing $20 million in capital expenditures to the property,” he said. “In keeping with the local theme of the project, much of the skilled detail work will be done at the hands of local artists and tradespeople. Sessions Hotel will ultimately employ 70 FTEs, and guarantees a return of $1.2 million over the next five years in sales taxes alone,” he added.

About Creative Boutique Hotels
Creative Boutique Hotels is a Virginia based partnership focused on the development of boutique hotels in small markets, and on the repurposing of historic buildings as well as new construction. The partnership combines the talents of three industry leaders. Cornerstone Hospitality conducts market analyses, determines viability, and makes recommendations for property size, styling and operations management. Hal Craddock of Craddock Cunningham Architectural Partners specializes in the vision, design and repurposing of historic structures. And MB Contractors provides a solid foundation of construction costs and craftsmanship.

In addition to the Sessions Hotel, other current boutique hotel projects include the expansion of their existing Craddock Terry Hotel, Lynchburg, Virginia; the revitalization and expansion of The John Randolph Hotel: South Boston, Virginia; the adaptive reuse of One Mill Place, Farmville, Virginia; and the feasibility, design and construction of a ground up boutique hotel — The Rutherfoord Hotel, Crozet, Virginia. Other projects under various stages of development are located in Concord, North Carolina; Roanoke, Virginia; Culpeper, Virginia and Columbus, Georgia. For additional information:

Thank you and Merry Christmas from Believe in Bristol!

December 20, 2013
It is the end of 2013 and Believe in Bristol just wants to say THANK YOU to everyone who has supported us this year. Volunteers and supporters have dedicated precious time, along with services and financial support, to the events, projects and advocacy of Historic Downtown Bristol and we know we can't do anything without their dedication and commitment to our downtown.

Through all these efforts, Historic Downtown Bristol has had an incredible year of growth, investment and new opportunites and developments. The staff of Believe in Bristol is currently working on our end of the year statistics for 2013. We are gathering information on total investment dollars, jobs created, businesses created and rehabilitation projects. We will keep you posted on the results.

All of this has been accomplished by those who give of their time and invest in Believe in Bristol and our downtown. We are asking you to consider donating to the continued success of Historic Downtown Bristol and our community — to help us make it a good place to live, work, shop, and play!

Believe in Bristol is a 501(c)3 and your donation is considered a charitable contribution deduction. Please visit to check out our annual report for FY13 and see how to become an investor in Historic Downtown Bristol and Believe in Bristol!

The Believe in Bristol Board of Directors and Christina and Rene wish you and your family a very merry holiday season!

Downtown Bristol Blog

9th Annual New Year's Eve Party with Citizen Kane and F-Bomb at O'Mainnin's Pub

December 31, 2013
The 9th Annual New Year's Eve Party with Citizen Kane and F-Bomb will be at O'Mainnin's on Tuesday, December 31! $10 @ the door, free Champagne toast at midnight, and party favors! Doors open at 4pm!
Click here to read more.

Celebrate Christmas with Machiavelli's

December 25, 2013
Celebrate Christmas Night with us at Machiavelli's with Brandon Britton, everyone's favorite DJ playing the newest and best and taking requests! Doors open at 6:00pm and music kicks off at 9:30!!!! For more information, call Machiavelli's on 423-573-9955.

Happy Holidays from KP — check out our holiday hours!

December 23, 2013
HAPPY HOLIDAYS! KP is open to serve you the following times this week: * Monday, December 23 — Lunch * Tuesday, December 24 — Lunch * Wednesday, December 25 — Closed * Thursday — Saturday, December 26 — 28 — Normal business hours. So come join us at lunch today for our endless soup and salad or one of our signature sandwiches. Your table is ready! Also, remember that KP is celebrating the holiday season with 1/2 price bottles of wine every day in December! Call today to make your reservation — 423.764.3889!

Holiday closures for Bristol Public Library

December 23, 2013
The Bristol Public Library will be closed on December 23, 24, 25 for the Christmas Holidays. The Library will close at 5 PM on December 31 and be closed on January 1, 2014, for New Year’s.

It's Crunch Time for Christmas — Wm. King Clothiers can help you find the perfect present!

December 23, 2013
With just a few shopping days left until Christmas, Wm. King Clothiers is open and ready to help you find the perfect gift! With the spring merchandise already in stock and the shelves full of classic clothing for men and women, there is something for everyone on your list! Wm. King Clothiers will be open until 5:30pm on Monday, December 23, and 4pm on Tuesday, December 24 — so shop now!

Last minute Christmas shopping? Come downtown!

December 23, 2013
Still have people on your list and can't find the perfect present? Then come to downtown Bristol where a host of independent shops are full of unique and fun gifts for everyone!

Final winner of Downtown Dollars announced

December 23, 2013
Downtown Dollars has been a huge success — and so much fun for everyone involved! The final winner, drawn on Saturday, December 21st — was Janet Bibee, and she will soon get the chance to use her $200 worth of Downtown Dollars for a shopping spree in Historic Downtown Bristol — the benefits of shopping local!

Upcoming Events

Featured artists at 606 State Street Gallery for December: Kaylynn Wilster and Lisa Boardwine

December 01 - 31, 2013

Holiday closures for Bristol Public Library

December 23 - 25, 2013

Come join in with the 606 State Street Jammers at 606 State Street Gallery

December 23, 2013

Open Band Jam at O'Mainnin's Pub

December 23, 2013

Guido Au'Some & the Open Mic Players at O'Mainnin's Pub

December 24, 2013

Christmas at Machiavelli's

December 25, 2013

JP Parsons at O'Mainnin's Pub

December 26, 2013

Borderline at 620 State

December 26, 2013

F-Bomb at O'Mainnin's Pub

December 27, 2013

Shake It Like A Caveman at 620 State

December 27, 2013

Flipside Runner at O'Mainnin's Pub

December 28, 2013

Wine tastings at Inari Wines

December 28, 2013

Sunday Funday at O'Mainnin's Pub

December 29, 2013

Open Band Jam at O'Mainnin's Pub

December 30, 2013

Come join in with the 606 State Street Jammers at 606 State Street Gallery

December 30, 2013

Holiday closures at the Bristol Public Library

December 31, 2013 - January 01, 2014

9th Annual New Year's Eve Party with Citizen Kane and F-Bomb at O'Mainnin's Pub

December 31, 2013

The Deep Fried Five at 620 State

December 31, 2013

606 State Street Gallery Hosts Featured Student Artist Reception for Natalie Monyak

January 04, 2014

606 State Street Jammers at 606 State Street Gallery

January 13, 2014

606 State Street Jammers at 606 State Street Gallery

January 20, 2014

606 State Street Jammers at 606 State Street Gallery

January 27, 2014

An Evening with C. S. Lewis

March 30, 2014

More Upcoming Events »