Virgin founder Sir Richard Branson and Virgin Hotels CEO Raul Leal joined Nashville Mayor Megan Barry Wednesday, September 20, for the groundbreaking ceremony of Virgin Hotels Nashville.
Key members of the city of Nashville, the developer The Buccini/Pollin Group and the construction management team BPGS Construction also attended the celebration along with media and guests.
Before the formal groundbreaking ceremony, Branson walked around greeting and welcoming guests.
The British billionaire says, “The last time I was in Nashville, which sort of shows my age, is when I was sitting in a studio watching Roy Orbison making an album. He was an artist on Virgin Records years ago, who was a wonderful man and wrote beautiful music. So I never thought when I was sitting there in the studio, that one day I would be building a hotel at the end of the street.”
Located on Music Row at the corner of Division St. and Music Square W. (17th Avenue S.), the new Virgin Hotels Nashville, with an address of 1 Music Square W., will offer 240 guest rooms, multiple concept suites, food and beverage outlets, and will include a rooftop pool and bar. The hotel is slated to open in 2019 and will be owned by The Buccini/Pollin Group and operated by Virgin Hotels.
Branson is a genuine fan of Nashville, confessing, “I think there are two iconic cities in America, Nashville and New Orleans, and I’ve always wanted to open hotels in both.” And referencing the address as being number 1 on the street, he added, “That can’t be bad.”
A reception followed the ceremony at RCA Studio. Branson added, “The next time we come, I hope we have even a bigger party on the roof on this building behind me that’s going to grow out of this ground.”
Mayor Megan Barry said, “As someone who has driven by this corner for a long time, this is much anticipated and we are so excited that this is going to be coming out of the ground.” Noting the recent addition of flights from Nashville to San Francisco on Virgin America, Barry added, “This is the second Virgin product that we have been a beneficiary. With Virgin’s roots in the music industry, I think it’s only appropriate that they are going to sit right here on Music Row.”
“We are so excited to be bringing Virgin Hotels to the thriving city of Nashville,” said Raul Leal, CEO of Virgin Hotels. “The spirit of this city is absolutely electric – from the music, to the cuisine, to the culture. We are fortunate to be a small part of what makes Music City such a popular destination among travelers. We can’t wait to welcome guests here.”
The brand’s first hotel, Virgin Hotels Chicago, is now open with hotels in San Francisco, Dallas, Palm Springs and New York slated to open next.