RICHMOND, Va. – A planned 10-story hotel would open up a dark section along the Kanawha Canal in downtown Richmond. The proposed Lock Hyatt Place will stretch up from its spot on the north bank of the canal on S. 13th St., near the downtown CarMax office building, and offer views of the James River.
The plan of development was filed three weeks ago by the local company who has been working on it for a little over a year. Hyatt has committed to site and has a preliminary agreement with Macfarlane Partners, who worked on the Charlottesville Hyatt.
The developer is in discussion with the city about removing the old Reynolds Metal finished goods storage building. This building currently stretches over the canal, in an area known as the Locks.
The Tidewater Connection Locks is a historic area that linked boats from the canal basin to the James River tidewater below Richmond. The section where the hotel would go is disjointed for those exploring the stretch of river on bicycle or on foot. Steps that could easily be missed connect two sections of the Canal Walk.
The homeless and panhandlers can often be found under the Reynolds building, where people pass through to access the staircase, which exits at the parking lot near the Pipeline Overlook.
The developers hope to upgrade the existing wood stairs to “more appropriate and larger metal stairs to provide better and safer access between the two levels.” A public elevator is also planned within the hotel site, for access between the street level and the canal level. The developers are in talks with city officials about how the elevator can be funded to allow for its installation at the time the hotel is being constructed.
“We sincerely believe that this development can be transformative while accomplishing a number of good things—first hotel on the canal walk, first hotel south of the Downtown Expressway, it will facilitate the removal of the old Reynolds warehouse building from over the top of the canal, it will offer very nice James River views from the pool deck terrace and it will provide commercial and meeting space on the canalwalk—in addition to the expected economic development and business related benefits,” said local developer Charles Macfarlane.
The Locks Hyatt Place will have 144 rooms, about 4,500 square feet of meeting space, about 3,500 square feet of commercial space on the canal level and about 125 parking spaces. A majority will be in the parking structure below the hotel and 14 surface spaces will be at the front of the hotel between the entrance and 12th Street.
The main entrance to the hotel will be from Byrd Street, as it turns 90 degrees to the north and becomes 12th Street.
The pool will be on the terrace level and offer views of the James River and Southside Richmond.
“This one I am really excited about,” Macfarlane said about the hotel project. “With its proximity to and views of the James River and its location a couple blocks from Shockoe Slip; from an infill perspective, this downtown development site is one of the best in Richmond.”
Assuming POD approval within the next 60 days, developers anticipate starting construction in early 2018 and an opening in late 2019.