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Just-opened Quirk Hotel latest in couple's business ventures

RICHMOND — Richmonders Ted and Katie Ukrop never imagined having more than one Quirk boutique hotel when they opened the first one in downtown Richmond in 2015.

“When we did the original Quirk, it was all about that building and being on Broad Street. There was no intention of doing another,” Ted Ukrop said.

The 74-room Quirk Hotel plus art gallery and restaurant at Broad and Jefferson streets in downtown Richmond is in a seven-story Italian Renaissance building that once was a department store.

But after the hotel opened in September 2015 and the bookings were strong, the couple thought the concept of having original works of contemporary art by renowned artists throughout a small hotel setting could do well elsewhere.

“We thought the brand had some legs,” he said. “We started looking at other markets and the Charlottesville location came up. We loved the location.”

The couple opened the second Quirk Hotel in Charlottesville on March 5. The 80-room hotel is on West Main Street, a few blocks from the Downtown Mall.

Ted Ukrop, son of former grocery store magnate James E. “Jim” Ukrop of the former Ukrop’s Super Markets Inc. chain, said he, his wife and their business partners looked closely at the hospitality industry in Charlottesville and decided to move forward with the project. This one took about four years to complete from idea to opening, he said.

“There are a lot of innovative businesses in the city. The area is a popular destination for weddings. So all of that made it very appealing to us,” Ted Ukrop said about Charlottesville. “There are not any independent boutique hotels there. We are independent that serves a niche — we are still a very art-focused hotel with all original art.”

Christian Kiniry and Ed Brown, both principals at Henrico County-based Bank Street Advisors, a commercial real estate broker, along with Ted Ukrop are the developers on the Charlottesville project.

Having a location in Charlottesville also made sense from a management perspective — the hotel is about an hour from Richmond so the original Quirk and the new one can share some back office services such as marketing, Ted Ukrop said.

Will there be more Quirk hotels? Ukrop said that is a possibility.

“We are looking at other markets,” he said, noting there is not any timetable for opening other locations.

“When we look at other markets, the hospitality numbers need to be there and we look at places that don’t have a boutique hotel,” Ukrop said. “We are looking in the Southeast. If there is another location, I’m not sure it will be in Virginia.”

Quirk Hotel Charlottesville has a Quirk art gallery and retail shop, just like in Richmond. But this one has much more space than the one in Richmond.

It features a bilevel gallery with local, regional and national artists. Above the gallery space is a shop selling artisan gifts, and plans call for hosting seasonal trunk shows.

Original contemporary artwork is displayed throughout the hotel — from the lobby and restaurants to guest rooms and the gallery, all under the art direction of Katie Ukrop as she does in Richmond.

The hotel also has a rooftop bar — part of it will be enclosed for year-round comfort — that is larger than the one in Richmond. The rooftop bar is slated to open next month.

“It has some beautiful panoramic mountain views,” Ted Ukrop said.

Chef David Dunlap, who runs the Richmond hotel’s Maple & Pine restaurant, is running the Pink Grouse restaurant in Charlottesville. The new restaurant, Ted Ukrop said, has a more rustic feel than in Richmond and emphasizes roasted and braised family-style dishes, local products, small plates and house-made pastas.

The restaurant, which has an outside courtyard for dining, is off the lobby rather than in the middle of the lobby as it is in Richmond. It is named the Pink Grouse as a nod to the hotel’s signature color scheme combined with the type of game bird.

The new Quirk incorporated two houses along Main Street — one is an 1820s-era Federal-style house and the other a two-story house built in 1893 — into the newly constructed hotel that rises four stories above Main Street and five stories at the rear above Commerce Street.

The 1820s house, a beige brick house at 503 W. Main St., has the Laurie Nicole salon on the first floor. The second floor has two guest rooms, one of which is a loft suite.

The other house, a red brick one at 501 W. Main St., has a cafe on the first floor.

The second floor will be home to Bobboo, an intimate whiskey bar with cigar smoking on the porch. The bar, which is slated to open in April, is named after Ted Ukrop’s maternal grandfather, Robert Mason Berkeley, whose nickname was Bobboo.

The entrance of the main hotel building features the Lobby Bar with daily specials of light bites and classic cocktails as well as local beers and wines.

Danny MacNelly, a partner with ArchitectureFirm, a Richmond-based architecture and design firm, said his team took some cues from the original Quirk when creating the Charlottesville property.

The design team used “the lofty, flat groin vaults of the Richmond lobby in combination with the language of brick masonry architecture in Virginia but with an eye to abstracting and modernizing both,” MacNelly said.

“The vaults are something of a signature of Quirk hotel [in Richmond] and the arches serve to announce this building as its own space but keep continuity in the light and playfulness that is so much a part of the brand,” he said. “The exterior massing of the building and the white brick creates a contemporary piece of architecture.”

Quirk Charlottesville raised $12 million from family and friends, Ted Ukrop said.

His parents, James and Bobbie Ukrop, along with David and Christy Cottrell, owners of Retail Data, a Henrico-based retail pricing research firm, are investors in the new hotel. The Ukrops and the Cottrells along with Ted and Katie Ukrop are the owners of the original hotel in Richmond.

There are 20-plus other investors in the Charlottesville venture who live in California, Pittsburgh and Chicago.

Some of the investors are from the Charlottesville and Richmond areas, he said.

About $1.75 million of the $12 million that was raised came from former classmates of Ted and Katie Ukrop from DePauw University.

Destination Hotels, the part of Hyatt Hotels Corp. that operates independently owned hotels, manages the new Quirk as it does for the original hotel in Richmond. 649-6379


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