Crozet community hopes to add hotel to former lumber property

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ALBEMARLE COUNTY, Va. (WVIR) — Crozet’s tourism industry is growing as hundreds visit the area's wineries and breweries every weekend, but the town is missing one thing: A place for all of those people to stay.

Credit: WVIR

But that may soon be changing.

Albemarle County leaders, planners, developers and people living in Crozet all agree that the area needs more short-term lodging.

“One winery alone has over 90 weddings. So you can imagine that there's a lot of visiting going on,” Albemarle County Supervisor Ann Mallek said.

Plans to build a hotel at Old Trail date back to 2014, but the project was scrapped after the developer had issues getting a loan.

Now, a second effort is beginning to take shape.

“The community is certainly eager to see shovels in the ground,” Mallek said.

Plans for the former Barnes Lumber property include not just retail stores and restaurants, but also now a boutique hotel.

Some believe a hotel will bring more people to the area.

“We think it could be a great anchor tenant to the new public plaza,” Downtown Crozet Initiative Director David Stoner said.

Others say the lack of short-term lodging has directly affected the area's rental market.

“There no hotels out there,” Roy Wheeler Realty CEO Michael Guthrie said. “Instead of somebody renting their house to somebody for a year, they're renting it every weekend, and they're making a whole lot more money.”

Shawn Bird uses AirBnB to rent out his property, and does not believe a hotel will take away any of his business.

“We know that there's hundreds, if not thousands, of visitors on big weekends,” Bird said. “Just bringing more people to the area is going to help everyone: from the families that do rent out their homes, to visitors, to the businesses.”

Milestone Partners, the developer of the old Barnes Lumber property, say it is still choosing a lodging contract, but is confident that a hotel will be part of phase one of the redevelopment.