In Virginia Beach, history and hotels are best friends during annual meeting

Bruce Thompson will receive an award from the Virginia Beach Historic Preservation Commission for his renovations of the Cavalier Hotel during the commission's annual meeting on April 18 (Courtesy of the Cavalier Hotel)
Bruce Thompson will receive an award from the Virginia Beach Historic Preservation Commission for his renovations of the Cavalier Hotel during the commission’s annual meeting on April 18 (Courtesy of the Cavalier Hotel)

VIRGINIA BEACH —As part of their annual public input meeting, the Virginia Beach Historic Preservation Commission will discuss conservation efforts, present research, and grant an “award of distinction” to developer and CEO of Gold Key|PHR Bruce Thompson in recognition of his renovation of the Cavalier Hotel.

The meeting provides an opportunity for residents to give input on the direction of Virginia Beach’s historic preservation program and learn about upcoming projects.

The commission said in a news release they will provide updates on their projects and initiatives from 2018, including the city’s first residential National Register Historic District designation in the Oceana neighborhood, continued efforts on improvements at the Cape Henry historic site and initiatives that have increased student involvement in local historic preservation.

Edna Hawkins-Hendrix, Joanne H. Lucas and Sherry A. DiBari will present their respective research projects on the history of African-American communities in Virginia Beach. Hawkins-Hendrix, Lucas, and DiBari were all recipients of the commission’s 2017-2018 research grants.

Related story: Uhrin will not face state charges related to Cavalier project

The commission’s research grant program has funded several state historical highway markers, curriculum development in the local public school system and new research about the histories of the area’s African-American communities. In the last two years, the commission has awarded more than $18,000 in local history research grants.

Thompson will also receive an award for his work renovating the Cavalier Hotel. Thompson paid $35 million for the Cavalier Hotel in 2013, which he renovated from March 2014 to March 2018.

Thompson said in January 2017 that renovations of the historic hotel were over budget and delayed and the Cavalier renovations turned out “to be a true act of philanthropy rather than a good business deal. But I’m proud to be a part of the future and history of Virginia Beach.”

The commission’s annual meeting will be April 18 from 6:30 to 8 p.m. in the Meyera E. Oberndorf Central Library auditorium in Virginia Beach.

For information on the program and the commission’s goals, visit the historic preservation commission website.

The Historic Preservation Commission is supported by the Department of Planning and meets on the first Wednesday of the month at 5 p.m. at the Virginia Beach Convention and Visitors Bureau.

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