HAMPTON—The Chamberlin Hotel at Fort Monroe has received the 2009 Outstanding Commercial Project Award from APVA Preservation Virginia for excellence in the rehabilitation and adaptive reuse of a historic Virginia structure.
Funded by local investors and overseen by Commonwealth Architects of Richmond, the $54 million project opened this past June after an intensive, four-year campaign to preserve the run-down 1928 hotel's historic architectural features and convert it into an independent living facility for seniors.
The unprecedented rehabilitation effort was honored in Richmond last week at the state Historic Preservation Awards staged by the APVA as part of its annual Historic Preservation Legislation Reception. "We are particularly impressed with both the beauty of the completed structure and the effort made to ensure the project qualified for both state and Federal rehabilitation tax credits," the review committee said.
"We also hope it helps set a standard for care and quality of future work at adjacent Fort Monroe."
Construction crews resurrected more than 86,000 square feet of the Chamberlin's public spaces - including its grand lobby, indoor swimming pool and Chesapeake Room dining hall - with meticulous attention to the original building materials and architectural details.
They lavished similar care on the remaining 126,000 square feet of private space, where the historic architectural features and waterfront views that once distinguished 294 hotel rooms became the backbone of 133 new apartments for independent seniors.
Though the former hotel is now a private living complex, its restored lobby, dining room and other public spaces have been open to the public since this past fall during its Sunday buffet luncheon, which has attracted as many as 150 diners, and a Monday lunch.
The property also recently expanded public access to its historic interior by opening for weddings and offering the daily use of its dining room, pool, gym and other amenities through membership in a new Chamberlin Club.
"People have a lot of memories about this place," Executive Director Sue Moniak said.
"And we're trying to find ways that enable them to come back in and see it - and really enjoy what we've done."