Following pandemic-related delays and setbacks, The Peabody Roanoke project is back on track and is expected to break ground on March 1, 2022.

Marty Belz, chairman of Peabody Hotels and Resorts, updated city staff and officials during a joint meeting between Roanoke City Council, the Roanoke Economic & Industrial Development Corp. Type A, and the Roanoke Community & Economic Development Corp. Type B.

Belz said it will take about one and a half to two years to complete construction following the groundbreaking.

“It's been challenging times for all of us during this period,” he said. “Our team wanted to keep our project going. It got diverted in some ways, but at the same time, in some ways ... [COVID-19] actually helped to improve the economics of the project.”

The 266-room hotel and conference center, with its eight-story tower, will sport approximately 43,000 square feet of meeting space with around 255 garage spaces, a restaurant, a full-service spa and health club as well as a 10,000-square-foot ballroom.

Belz said the company is looking forward to opening and being part of the community. He said the strong hotel market in this area of the metroplex before COVID-19 played a big factor in attracting the brand to Roanoke.

“There's not another property out in that part of the [metroplex] that's of the quality that we intend to be there, so we just thought there was a good opportunity for our brand,” he said.

The project is estimated to cost a total of $144 million and will be primarily financed through bonds sold to private investors and financial institutions, according to Todd Smith of Hilltop Security, who serves as the project financing banker.

The original Peabody Hotel is located in Memphis, Tennessee, and opened in 1869. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is “world-famous for its five resident ducks, who march daily through the lobby at 11 a.m. and 5 p.m.,” according to the hotel’s website.