A project to build a 58-room hotel on an undeveloped site adjoining The Lodge at Old Trail collapsed in July when the bank that had agreed to loan a portion of the building costs revised its terms.
Hotel developer David Hilliard, owner of The Lodge, told county and state officials in a message, “the bank I had been dealing with decided to take another appraisal that was lower than the appraisal that worked and averaged the two, which changed the numbers needed to complete the project.”
Hilliard said he looked at what he had spent so far on the project and decided to back away from further effort.
“The worst part of all is that this project is sorely needed in this area,” he said. “It can make money and provide tax revenue. My hope is that someone, not me at this time, can build something here in the Crozet area.”
In May, Hilliard had announced that financing had been completed and that he expected to start construction promptly. The necessary share of private investment in the hotel had been secured. Hilliard described the Bank of Middleburg as subsequently taking “a hard line.”
In 2010, when Katurah Roell of Piedmont Development Group was actively pursuing the development of the Barnes Lumber property, he suggested that a “boutique” hotel was one of the likely initial projects for the site. Roell told the Crozet Community Advisory Council that a market study of a hotel’s viability showed that Crozet could support a small hotel and possibly even two.
Hilliard’s architectural plan for “The Rutherfoord Hotel” stresses accommodations for wedding parties. State and county officials had been encouraging the project because of their estimation of Crozet’s tourism potential with the expansion of area wineries and breweries.