The Commonwealth Park Suites Hotel, across from the state Capitol in downtown Richmond, reopened this week after an extensive multimillion-dollar renovation that took 18 months to complete.
The hotel got a new name — now simply called The Commonwealth — after undergoing a complete overhaul of its 59 guest suites, lobby, meeting space, restaurant and fitness center.
“We are thrilled with the end result,” said Robert Reed, vice president of SMI Hotel Group, the Richmond-based company that manages The Commonwealth. “The final product exceeded our expectations.”
The renovation and modernization of the historic building at Ninth and Bank streets also took a year longer than SMI expected. The hotel closed in June 2016, and the renovations were expected to be completed in about six months.
“In general, when you open up the walls of a 1912 historic building, you will find surprises,” Reed said.
The renovation also was financed in part by historic tax credits, which he said added another layer of approval that took longer than expected.
Reed would not reveal the exact amount spent on the project.
This week’s opening is timely, he said, given next month’s start of the General Assembly and the gubernatorial inauguration.
Besides, Jack Berry, president and CEO of Richmond Region Tourism, said demand is strong for downtown Richmond’s hotel industry.
“We are thrilled with the reopening of The Commonwealth,” Berry said. “The timing is excellent for the return of the General Assembly in January. It adds to the list of the many newly renovated hotels in downtown.”
Reed said The Commonwealth has a prime location across from the state Capitol and next to the Pocahontas Building, which will house General Assembly legislative offices and committee rooms through the 2021 sessions.
“We’re already getting a ton of foot traffic from people stopping in to look at the lobby and the bar and the restaurant,” Reed said. “We think this will be a very popular spot for legislators and lobbyists once the session begins.”
The Commonwealth offers four types of guest rooms: a one-room studio suite; a one-room suite with separate living and bedroom area; a spacious two-room suite with separate living room and bedroom; and a suite with a fully equipped kitchenette.
The hotel is now affiliated with the Preferred Hotels & Resorts Connect Collection.
Furnishings throughout the hotel primarily were sourced in Virginia and North Carolina. The decor features original artwork — some of it eclectic — commissioned by local Richmond artists, with every guest floor having an original mural.
Rueger’s, the hotel’s 42-seat restaurant and bar, pays homage to the saloon that opened on the site of the hotel in 1846.
The original building burned down during the Civil War. The original Hotel Rueger opened in 1901. Construction of the current structure started in 1912 with the Hotel Rueger opening on Nov. 5, 1913.
The current renovation included restoration of the historic façade, new elevators and new entrance canopies.
Baskervill, a Richmond-based architectural firm, was in charge of the renovation, and M.L. Bell was general contractor for the public space.
The hotel is owned by Richmond-based Bijoy LLC, which is a sister company to SMI Hotel Group.
Affiliates of SMI Hotel Group own six hotels, including three others in the Richmond area: Delta Hotels by Marriott hotel in downtown Richmond; the Four Points by Sheraton Richmond in Chesterfield County; and the Four Points by Sheraton Richmond Airport in Henrico County. Affiliates of the group also own two hotels in Texas: in Tyler and Dallas.