New Market applies for grant to revive historic hotel
The Shenandoah Valley-HeraldNEW MARKET — New Market Town Council approved an application for state funding that, if accepted, could mean new life for the former Lee-Jackson Hotel building on Congress Street.
The iconic structure has seen many uses since it was constructed in the early 1800s. Most recently, it was operated by former New Market Mayor Larry Smith as the Publik House Restaurant.
The restaurant closed in 2009 and the building has remained vacant since.
Town Manager Evan Vass said the structure is being considered as the new site of the Shenandoah Valley Battlefields Foundation offices, which are now located on West Old Cross Road in New Market.
“We have been interested in the Lee-Jackson building for a number of years,” said Denman Zirkle, executive director of the foundation. “It’s a perfect fit for the foundation.”
Zirkle said the structure also would house an orientation center featuring information on New Market area battlefields.
The 10,000-square-foot building is sectioned off so that the owners of the building could easily rent out portions of it for other uses.
Vass said there is suitable space for a restaurant and a retail shop.
On Monday, council approved an application for $35,500 in funds from the state Industrial Revitalization Fund. Vass said the funds are intended to refurbish vacant or deteriorated industrial properties in Virginia with a goal of bringing revenue back into the areas.
The funds would be matched by the battlefields foundation for a total of $71,000 in renovations. The purchase of the building from United Bank would be separate.
Still, the sale is not a lock yet. Results of the grant application will not come in until December.
Zirkle said he could not say with certainty whether the foundation would buy the building if the grant is unsuccessful.
He said the sale involves several factors, including the necessary renovations, purchase price and interest of tenants.
“In the end, it has to make economic sense. They are all variables,” Zirkle said.