Saturday, December 9, 2023

New development looks to bring life to former Governor’s Inn location

A conceptual drawing of a proposed living development located at the Governor's Inn property. (WYDaily/Courtesy Thomas Niles)
A conceptual drawing of a proposed living development located at the Governor’s Inn property. (WYDaily/Courtesy Thomas Niles)

The Governor’s Inn has sat vacant for the past year and unused but a new project is looking to bring life back to the location. 

Castle Development Partners has submitted new plans to the city of Williamsburg to develop a multi-family use apartment complex that will provide “Class A” amenities and access to downtown at the current Governor’s Inn location, said Thomas Niles, a partner with Castle.

“So we think it’s a great site that’s being underutilized right now,” Niles said. “We feel that right now in downtown Williamsburg, there’s no Class A apartment complex or community where you can take advantage of the quality of life downtown can offer.”

In 2019, Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, the owner of the property, announced the Governor’s Inn, located in the North Henry corridor, would be closed permanently after deciding it was no longer a strategic asset for the foundation.

“Really, we’re taking a property that was not thriving and not succeeding and trying to find a new life for that spot and improve the look of that whole corridor,” Niles said. 

Niles said Castle Development had been in talks with Colonial Williamsburg for the past year in order to come to a sale agreement. The business is currently under contract to buy the property if they are able to meet all of the approvals for construction from the city. 

If approved, the new apartment complex would feature 152 one- and two-bedroom apartments, complete with a pool, fitness center and other on-site amenities. According to city documents, the development will draw upon a neo-Georgian style that matches that of Merchants Square but will also provide contemporary details for the modern renter.

The business is in the process of getting a rezoning approval and will move onto approval from the city’s Architectural Review Board. If everything goes according to plan, Niles said construction could start as early as 2021.

A conceptual drawing of a proposed living development located at the Governor's Inn property. (WYDaily/Courtesy Thomas Niles)
A conceptual drawing of a proposed living development located at the Governor’s Inn property. (WYDaily/Courtesy Thomas Niles)

Niles said it will cater to a different market than the current apartments being constructed at Midtown Row. While Midtown Row is looking at college-age residents, this new apartment complex would be aimed at a more general population.

He said the units in general will appeal to a consumer that is looking to experience the ease of living in an apartment and not have to worry with the concerns that come with buying a home.

“It’s not any one type,” he said. “We see across the board all demographics and groups would be interested in trying to spend time doing things versus being burdened with home ownership.”

The apartment complex will also offer 10 percent of its units to help address a local need for workplace housing. There isn’t a current price range for the apartments, Niles said, because it depends on the market once they’re built. He expects the price to be comparable to other local housing developments, such as Aura at Quarterpath.

Niles said the company became interested in the development because of Williamsburg’s goals to increase vibrancy in the downtown area.

“We feel that Williamsburg…is not only a beautiful area that’s growing, but we want to be a part of that controlled growth,” Niles said. “It’s a perfect location for a beautiful property to compliment the area and downtown.”


Alexa Doiron
Alexa Doiron
Alexa Doiron is a multimedia reporter for WYDaily. She graduated from Roanoke College and is currently working on a master’s degree in English at Virginia Commonwealth University. Alexa was born and raised in Williamsburg and enjoys writing stories about local flair. She began her career in journalism at the Warhill High School newspaper and, eight years later, still loves it. After working as a news editor in Blacksburg, Va., Alexa missed Williamsburg and decided to come back home. In her free time, she enjoys reading Jane Austen and playing with her puppy, Poe. Alexa can be reached at

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