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Miller & Rhoads Hilton Hotel/Condo Conversion

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Is it true that the former Miller & Rhoads building is being redeveloped into a hotel? Is the Thalhimer's building doomed or already gone? Perhaps these issues have been addressed elsewhere. If so, please advise.

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Much of the Thalhimer's building was torn down to make room for the new Virginia Performing Arts Center, which will comprise the entire block and include an expanded Carpenter Center. Burt could elaborate MUCH more on what is planned here.

Miller and Rhoad's will be returning to life as an upscale hotel (originally a Hilton but that may change) with 249 rooms and between 130-140 upscale condos on upper floors. It should be finished by fall 2007 at a cost of over $80 million. the GC Murphy building was torn down to make room for an entrance to the new hotel.

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Murphy's was torn down, true, but not to provide an entrance to Miller & Rhoads. It is (was) on the block of Broad between 4th and 5th and the entire Broad street frontage of buildings on that block are gone and are now a surface parking lot. Long range plans call for a parking garage.

Woolworth's, adjacent to M&R at the corner of Broad and 5th, has been demolished to provide a driveway entry to the new M&R hotel.

Thalhimers is now a hole in the ground awaiting a much debated Music Hall along Broad between 6th and 7th. Its fate is unclear because of fund-raising difficulties and opposition from the Mayor's office. At the 7th and Grace former Thalhimer annex, the structure remains and is being converted by the Arts consortium into restaurants, jazz club and 200-seat playhouse. It will also be connected along Grace (between 6th and 7th) to the MUCH expanded Carpenter Center (formerly Loew's Theatre) providing expanded lobby space and additional rest rooms for the enlarged theatre, which, when completed, will have the biggest, deepest stage house in Central Virginia. :)

PS. Welcome TomBarnes.

Edited by burt

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To be fair, most of those buildings that got torn down in Downtown Richmond weren't of major architectural importance (though I personally dig a lot of the midcentury retail buildings like Murphy's and Woolworth's)

Most of them had little hope of being modified to modern uses without some major renovations that would likely have cost as much to do than to tear them down and start over. Still sad though.

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Well, it was reported on the news tonight that real construction on the Miller and Rhoad's building will begin soon. The mayor's office is close to finalizing the deal.

It's also confirmed that it will in fact be a Hilton Hotel. It will have 240 hotel rooms, as well as 110 condos on upper floors. Large atriums will be created within the building (this should turn out pretty awesome)...The project will be completed in 2008.

One news report said that the project will be 9-stories, though I'm pretty sure that M&R is only 8 floors tall... any ideas? More details should come I expect...

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Well the print confirms the TV stories....

Work to begin in Early '06

It seems that the delay in start is caused by Hurrican Katrina. ECI's partner, HRI was dislocated by the hurricane and had to find a new place to operate out of. Work will be complete on the new downtown Hilton by 2008....

It will be a 240-room hilton hotel, as well as 130-140 condos. Laing said that those numbers will probably increase as the project comes closer to starting....

"Our downtown will benefit greatly with the addition of another top-drawer hotel," Mayor L. Douglas Wilder said, in announcing the new agreement.

He said the hotel would boost Richmond's tourism and convention business, while the new condominiums tap a strong market for downtown homes.

I think we'll have yet another 'top drawer' hotel in Centennial Towers once it is complete... :)

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Well the print confirms the TV stories....

Work to begin in Early '06

It seems that the delay in start is caused by Hurrican Katrina. ECI's partner, HRI was dislocated by the hurricane and had to find a new place to operate out of. Work will be complete on the new downtown Hilton by 2008....

It will be a 240-room hilton hotel, as well as 130-140 condos. Laing said that those numbers will probably increase as the project comes closer to starting....

I think we'll have yet another 'top drawer' hotel in Centennial Towers once it is complete... :)

:) Ritz Carlton!

:)

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One news report said that the project will be 9-stories, though I'm pretty sure that M&R is only 8 floors tall... any ideas? More details should come I expect...

It's probably 8 stories with a mezzanine level, which would make it 9.

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It's probably 8 stories with a mezzanine level, which would make it 9.

Is that you behind the shades in your new avatar, Steven? :)

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I'm curious about the atria that will be created in the buildings. The rendering indicates there will be one at the 5th and Broad entrance, and surely there will be one or more in the building facing Grace. Maybe its interior will look something like an Embassy Suites.

Let's hope tenants will be found for street level shops and restaurants and also for the neat buildings across Grace street.

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"Maybe its interior will look something like an Embassy Suites"

I should think it would be better than that....I would hope so anyway.

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"Maybe its interior will look something like an Embassy Suites"

I should think it would be better than that....I would hope so anyway.

Or a Hyatt Regency. Since it's a large structure with immense windowless space in its central core, I would imagine rooms would be oriented toward balconies and streets. But like you, I hope it will be innovative.

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perhaps they will put large glass skylights in where the atriums are to let in natural light?

They could really make a fantastic hotel out of this building if they do it right.... I look forward to seeing renderings. MAybe Joey can sneak some out of Mr. Laing's briefcase lol :lol:

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Stephen I totaly agree

going along with that... that's why I've been suggesting including the tea room as one of the restaurant options at the soon to be hotel. You probably haven't seen this PBS series called Richmond Memories, but one of them focuses on downtown retail back in the day, particularly Miller&Rhoads and Thalhimer's.....During the holidays, they used to go all out on the window decorations.... I wish I had been alive to see/remember them. I think that is also something they could do, if they wanted to honor the history of the building.

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I really hope we see those busy streets again one day who knows maybe we could start a new era of downtown department stores like Macys,Strawbridges,Kohls,Lord & Taylor,Nordstroms. Hey that was all the Department stores I saw when I was in downtown philly and I must say downtown philly rocks. Love it to death. But wouldn't leave richmond for there.

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I really hope we see those busy streets again one day who knows maybe we could start a new era of downtown department stores like Macys,Strawbridges,Kohls,Lord & Taylor,Nordstroms. Hey that was all the Department stores I saw when I was in downtown philly and I must say downtown philly rocks. Love it to death. But wouldn't leave richmond for there.

Did you wander thru the clusters of diminutive houses in the back alleys of Philadelphia, Joey? There are lots of them in the Walnut/Spruce/Locust/11th-17th street area.

Edited by burt

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Talk about a company slogan:

"Between the patrons and the management there is more to be desired than mere selling; an abiding friendship is valued far above profit." -Miller&Rhoads

It's such a shame that M&R and Thalhimer's are gone...

It must sound like I'm obsessed with this tea room thing but... I really think it was an important aspect of Miller&Rhoads and the Richmond community:

"In the Tea Room, business people on lunch breaks, families shopping, young couples, and numerous others all convened in a room that was far more than just a restaurant with good chicken pot pie. The Tea Room served as the Richmond watering hole that pulled together people from all walks of life. In essence, it functioned as a board room, a family room, a rendezvous point, and yes, even a restaurant. As one Richmonder noted, "more business was made in the Miller & Rhoads Tea Room than in the office." The runway addition in the Tea Room served as a bridge between the store and the consumer community. For several decades, Miller & Rhoads models paraded down the runways, talking with lunch-goers about the latest fashions offered in the store. While many women, and some men, watched the model shows, men could gather on the far side of the room in the men's corner."

Speaking of the window decorations around the holidays...

"When the public thought of Christmas, it almost always included visions of Miller & Rhoads' display windows and of their "real" Santa Claus. For fifty-two years, Addison Lewis held the post of director of window display. During his tenure, Lewis pioneered the art of window display and took his skill to new levels with his Christmas windows. At Christmas time, Lewis and his crew elegantly decorated the street-front display windows with Christmas themes. In keeping with the piety of the Richmond public, at least one window always depicted the nativity, and many others reflected religious themes. For the shopping public, these windows came to be something that drew people to the store; people anticipated each holiday season with excitement and looked forward to the Miller & Rhoads Christmas windows. In fact, the windows were so successful that other national stores flew in people to take notes. The windows existed as something that the public shared and came to expect year after year."

I really hope Mike Laing and his company consider how much this institution meant to Richmonders. I hope they respect it and honor it...

some pics

bustling Richmond streets... wish this could happen again...

1935.jpg

M&R elevators... hopefully these are saved...

elevator.jpg

the Tea Room

tea.jpg

M&R company song:

song.jpg

fantastic website about M&R (stephen you'd probably find it interesting...

Miller & Rhoads

Edited by wrldcoupe4

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