The Town of Bedford has reached an agreement with a hotel developer for the first business-class hotel in Bedford. The agreement was signed by Town Council at its meeting on June 13, 2023. The agreement with developer DDay Omstay LLC will bring a well-known brand of hotel to the Town, which was a requirement of the agreement to ensure a high-caliber hotel would be attracted. The agreement includes the provision of Town-owned land on Burks Hill Road near the National D-Day Memorial, the Bedford Area Welcome Center, and U.S. Route 460 interchange.
The Town Economic Development Authority (EDA) provided assistance with additional land at the site to improve access to the parcel and additional developable area. Town Council is contributing an incentive package that includes a portion of transient occupancy tax rebates and partial real property tax rebates at a declining rate over several years. In exchange for economic development incentives, DDay Omstay, LLC will maintain the chosen hotel brand, which will include at least 85 hotel rooms and a 100-person meeting room. This meeting room will complement space at the nearby Welcome Center and accommodate meetings for users such as The National D-Day Memorial and other businesses that can host events that attract overnight visitors. “The meeting space is a key component of the project that fills a gap in needed gathering space in town,” said Mary Zirkle, Town Director of Planning and Community Development. “This asset opens up Bedford as a destination for multi-day corporate events, receptions and parties located in a safe, small-town environment adjacent to attractions like D-Day, the Peaks of Otter and Smith Mountain Lake.”
The incentives for the target site are intended to locate a hotel as close to downtown to encourage activity in the central business district while maintaining the convenience of a bypass exit. “This is an economic development project that reaches many levels of business enhancement from meeting an overnight accommodation need to maximizing patronization of local businesses, particularly in downtown,” noted Mary Zirkle. “The Town EDA focused on a business-class hotel as one of three priority projects in its 2021 Strategic Plan,” she further said. “We know the importance of a business-class hotel for attracting new companies and travelling visitors to the area so we made it a priority in our plan and aggressively pursued it,” stated EDA Chairman Jonathan Buttram. He further notes, “The Town EDA and Council have been behind the project with support and commitment. We are glad to see it reach this point in development.”
Tim Black, Town Mayor, added that, “A hotel is a key feature in attracting people to Bedford. We know this will provide new job opportunities, enhance other businesses, and be a catalyst for future growth.” He went on to say, “We welcome the hotel project and look forward to a successful end product to provide quality overnight accommodations to tourist and business travelers alike. We are appreciative of the leadership effort of the Town EDA along with the participation of Bedford County, its EDA, and the Bedford Regional Water Authority.”
Work on the current hotel project began with a hotel study prepared by a hospitality consultant in 2021 that was funded by a grant from the EPA brownfields program. The study identified potential sites and also confirmed the Town could sustain a business-class hotel with a higher-number room count. The hotel is expected to open in summer 2025.