Virginia Union University’s campus in Northside. (Jonathan Spiers images)

As the hotel marketplace continues to rebound from the pandemic, Virginia Union University is increasing its tutorial choices to incorporate a hospitality administration application that is prepared to be anchored with a new, pupil-operate lodge subsequent to the Carver neighborhood.

VUU’s Sydney Lewis University of Enterprise is now providing three degrees in hospitality management: a bachelor’s and master’s, and an executive MBA with a hospitality management focus.

The private university — an HCBU, or traditionally black university or university — has been rolling out the systems more than the past calendar year, with all of them absolutely launched in time for the drop semester that bought underway this week.

As part of the energy, VUU also is planning a hotel near Carver that would be open to the general public and run by college students in the program, delivering them with a authentic-environment schooling floor of sorts.

The C.D. King Hall building web page at Leigh and Lombardy streets, where VUU is planning a scholar-operate lodge.

At first viewed as for a prepared expansion of VUU’s campus on the previous Spending plan Inn of Richmond motel web site, the hotel is now being prepared for the internet site of C.D. King Hall, a college-owned administrative developing at Lombardy and Leigh Road, throughout Leigh from Maggie L. Walker Governor’s College.

The college enlisted Retro Hospitality, a Richmond-primarily based administration team whose shoppers involve Quirk Resort, to comprehensive a feasibility review for the resort venture, as very well as support in creating an advisory board for a VUU hospitality university.

Paul Cooper

The analyze chosen the 1.2-acre C.D. King web site around other selections regarded, including land subsequent door to the Sugar Shack Donuts throughout Leigh and Lombardy, Retro Hospitality’s Paul Cooper stated. That web-site is now beneath development for Carver Sq., a 90-device condo challenge from Stanley Martin Residences.

“It’ll be a challenge that will assist the education of the students by means of the hospitality management application, and then it also will have to make money sense from a professional standpoint,” Cooper claimed, noting the lodge would be open to transient vacationers. “We’re conducting a very deep research to counsel what level of facilities and companies will be furnished in that hotel.”

That research, slated to be shipped this year, also would decide whether the C.D. King making would be renovated and integrated into the resort enhancement, or razed to make way for new development.

Pending acceptance from administrators and VUU’s Board of Trustees, the undertaking would involve a ask for for proposals from standard contractors, architects and engineering companies. A tentative name for the undertaking is “Virginia Union College Resort and Conference Heart,” though the convention middle part continues to be up in the air.

Cooper said it could be 18 to 24 months soon after approval prior to the project is done, placing the hotel’s likely opening in the 2024-25 timeframe. He explained a venture cost and other details continue to be to be determined.

The previous Budget Inn of Richmond web-site, in which programs for an enlargement of VUU’s campus was declared in late 2019.

Motel site job continue to planned

When VUU declared strategies for a blended-use constructing to exchange the previous Spending plan Inn of Richmond at Lombardy and Brook Road, officials explained they envisioned the building’s upper floors housing a 50- or 60-mattress hospitality administration plan, with the floor floor consisting of storefronts for compact organizations.

Robin Davis

Even though that building is no longer planned to be a hotel, the college even now options to create that web site in line with conceptual renderings that were being introduced at the 2019 announcement, stated Robin Davis, dean of the Sydney Lewis College of Organization, who’s major the hospitality management energy together with Provost Terrell Strayhorn.

“We’re nevertheless likely to do a little something with the motel,” Davis mentioned, adding that precise ideas and a timeline for that project have nonetheless to be launched but the basic strategy would be the exact, with academic programming over ground-floor storefronts.

With the C.D. King web site, Davis included: “We just felt that that would be the finest proximity for a hotel, since of the visitors and it’s not way too much from Wide Street, and you have the Kroger and so forth.

“Our motivation, for the reason that of the pandemic, is to make absolutely sure that our workforce is truly ready to ramp back up, particularly following the pandemic is more than. Individuals are heading to want to vacation and entertain and items of that character, so we definitely need to connect (the hospitality management application) at VUU.”

Industry assist

To that conclusion, Davis and Cooper have been achieving out to hotel contacts across the area and other individuals in the sector to get the term out about the courses, and to solicit support and probable involvement on the advisory board.

Names involve regional heavyweights these kinds of as Quirk proprietor Ted Ukrop, Shamin Hotels’ Jay Shah, Apple Hospitality’s Justin Knight, and Eric Terry and Jim Wilson with the Virginia Restaurant, Lodging & Travel Association. Davis mentioned she also achieved out to GMs of downtown Marriott qualities, and Cooper’s contacted directors with the hospitality courses at Virginia Tech and JMU.

Davis claimed she’s invited individuals she’s contacted to signify the industry at a profession enhancement event prepared on VUU’s campus in September.

As for the programs’ reception so far, Davis said enrollment has been rising steadily considering that the bachelor’s software was launched in January and the govt MBA rolled out in the spring.

Deborah Martin, VUU’s graduate admissions and improvement coordinator, said the govt MBA has enrolled 59 learners so significantly and is still accepting applications.

“That was far more than what we expected,” Martin mentioned.

The blended-use making prepared for the Spending budget Inn internet site experienced been considered to residence the hospitality management system. (BizSense file)

Enrollment figures for the master’s plan, which launched this semester, weren’t offered, but Martin stated they are aiming for an first cohort of 10 to 12 enrollees. All of the systems are supplied on the web.

Davis explained the packages, though in improvement prior to the pandemic, come at a very important time for the hospitality sector, which she reported is struggling to rehire employees immediately after layoffs and other cutbacks in 2020, notably at the government amount.

“One (government) said they lost about 80 % of their enterprise shortly immediately after the pandemic commenced and they had to lay off 80 per cent of their workforce,” Davis reported. “Now, he mentioned that they’re seeking to ramp up choosing, and he has 93 positions open that he simply cannot fill speedy enough.”

Terrell Strayhorn

Strayhorn, VUU’s provost and senior vice president of educational affairs, explained the university’s hospitality administration programs offer a worth compared to many others across the region.

“We’ve received probably the most reasonably priced executive MBA in the state suitable now,” Strayhorn claimed, noting that some MBAs can value as much as $70,000 more than the system of the program.

“In 12 to 15 months, for no extra than $20,000, you can have an government MBA from Virginia Union, a traditionally black higher education in the United States. That’s just outstanding,” he said. “It’s an government MBA, at an HBCU, in the commonwealth’s capital. It’s very affordable, and it is acquired multiple tracks to it, including church management.”

Laughing, Strayhorn extra, “Every pastor in the state really should get our MBA right now.”

On top of growing its tutorial offerings, VUU also has been introducing to its true estate holdings in modern months. In addition to the Spending plan Inn web page, the university final thirty day period bought an industrial warehouse developing throughout the avenue from its Hovey Subject football stadium.

Correction: Terrell Strayhorn is provost and senior vice president of academic affairs at VUU. An earlier version of the report improperly referred to Strayhorn with a title he beforehand held.

By Harriet