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Tallest building in Bristol, Virginia's downtown could be getting new life

By Laura Halm
Published On: Oct 24 2012 08:52:31 PM CDT
Updated On: Oct 24 2012 04:29:23 PM CDT
EXECUTIVE PLAZA
BRISTOL, Va. -

It's not only the tallest building in Bristol, Virginia's downtown; it's historic, and it could be getting a new life. We're talking about Executive Plaza, also know as the historic Reynolds-Arcade Building.

News 5 learned city leaders are just in the beginning stages, encouraging developers to pick Executive Plaza and turn it into a new hotel. But this change is promising for tourists, businesses, and the Twin Cities.

Executive Plaza is a building with a past, present, and now a very bright future. That's because Bristol, Virginia is hoping to get a $500,000 Industrial Revitalization grant. "That would allow us to really kick-start the idea and entertain development proposals to see that redeveloped into that use of boutique hotel," said Andrew Trivette, Director of Community and Economic Development.

Trivette says Executive Plaza will need extensive renovation to the tune of about $13 million. But a new 70-room hotel will be a big help with big events. "With Mumford & Sons this year and the success of Rhythm and Roots, one of the number one things that we hear all the time is 'Wouldn't it be great if we could have stayed downtown?'"

The address here is prime, because just a few feet away there is a soon to be Cultural Heritage Center. About a block away there are all the shops and restaurants in downtown Bristol.

At Machiavelli's there is some foot traffic from hotels at Exit 7. "I think that makes a small portion of our business, but having something right around the corner, I think it could definitely impact our bottom line," said owner Justin Peters.

News 5 checked with Joy Madison, President of the Bristol Chamber of Commerce, and learned the change could help encourage new businesses. But the new tourists can actually help you and me in the long run. "New money in the community means that it helps pay for our streets, our fire department, and our police," added Madison.

City leaders say they're expecting it to take two to three years from design to completion if this grant is approved.

News 5 also learned Executive Plaza was originally built to become a hotel.