BRISTOL, Va.— While progress may be nearly imperceptible from the outside, work inside the future Sessions Hotel is proceeding rapidly, developers said Tuesday.
A crew of between 30 to 40 workers is completing major improvements inside all three historic buildings, which are slated to be combined into a $20 million, 70-room boutique hotel near the intersection of State Street and Commonwealth Avenue.
Hal Craddock, a partner in developer Creative Boutique Hotels, and project superintendent Gary Barker discussed the status during a meeting of the Bristol Noon Rotary Club.
“The progress is excellent. I think we’re doing well,” Craddock said. “We hope to complete all the construction in June  and then start all the upfit and furniture in June and July and open around the first of August. That’s what we’re hoping.”
Craddock praised Barker and the workers — most of whom were also involved in completing the Western Front Hotel in St. Paul. That facility opened in the spring after some two years of work to shore up an old downtown building.
Barker described the work that has occurred in all three structures — the former Jobbers Candy factory and Service Mills building along Goode Street and the Owen Equipment building, formerly Bristol Grocery.
“[For] the Owen Equipment building, we completed all the structural repairs, installed a new roof, and we’ve got mechanical, electrical and plumbing trades on-site now. Those guys are starting to work from the third floor down,” Barker said. “We’ve installed the elevator pit and some other miscellaneous concrete in that building.”
In the Jobbers building, crews have performed some samples of masonry and gotten approval to perform restoration work, which is expected to begin this month, Barker said.
“On the mill building, we’re at the fourth floor, roof-level, making structural repairs, and the two-story section has a brand-new roof,” he said. “That’s where the restaurants will be.”
Barker said nearly three tractor-trailer loads of lumber have gone into the buildings, and workers are beginning to frame up hotel rooms.
Plans call for 40 rooms in the Owen Equipment building, 14 in the old Jobbers Candy building and 16 in the former mill, which will also host both restaurants and the bar.
Barker joked that such projects must have two things: “a high percentage of sketchy, rotted structure” and “an impressive foundation of pigeons,” and the Sessions Hotel had both.
Craddock said they consider Bristol a great market, and they expect the project will do well.
The above article was published in the Bristol Herald Courier on October 2, 2018.
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