Windsor Castle fund drive

Published 12:59 pm Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Foundation hopes to add $2 million to what’s on hand

By Diana McFarland

Managing editor

The Windsor Castle Park Foundation plans to embark on a $5 million capital campaign to assist in the restoration of the manor house and other historic structures.

In addition to restoring the manor house, the money would be used to add a new wing that would include a kitchen as well as an elevator so that the historic home can be rented for various social events, including overnight stays by individuals. The fund will also be used to renovate the exterior of the Windsor Castle caretaker’s house, existing outbuildings and the farm office, as well as some site work.

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The money that the Foundation hopes to raise would be released to the Historic Windsor Castle Restoration LLC as work progresses. {mprestriction ids=”1,2,3,4,5,6″}

The Historic Windsor Castle LLC was formed last year to facilitate the acquisition and syndication of state preservation tax credits to make state approved improvements to the manor house and outbuildings. It has been given the responsibility for performing the restoration work with funds provided by the town, Smithfield Foods and the Foundation.

The Foundation’s $5 million capital campaign includes the two largest donations to date of $2 million, pledged by the town of Smithfield, and $1 million by Smithfield Foods, said Bruce Aird, recently-named chairman of the Windsor Castle Foundation Board.

Aird said the capital campaign would require the support of corporations and foundations as well as grants.

If successful, “Amy (Musick) will have a revenue-producing facility,” said Project Manager Rick Bodson at a March 8 Historic Windsor Castle Restoration LLC meeting.

Musick is the parks and recreation director for the town of Smithfield. She is also on the board of directors for Smithfield VA Events, which plans to renovate the interior of the caretaker’s house for use as an office. SVAE is the largest single user of the park and puts on three festivals there a year — the Smithfield Wine and Brew Fest, the BOB Fest and the Bacon, Bourbon and Beach Music Fest. 

The restored manor house is slated for use as a rentable space with four event rooms, and two bedrooms and two bathrooms upstairs.

Those making large donations, such as $50,000 or $100,000, would reserve naming rights, said Bodson, tossing out possible donation amounts.

Aird said the Foundation is in the process of finalizing the specific naming rights and funding targets for each of them.

However, not all the renovations would qualify for historic tax credits, such as improvements to a relatively modern pole barn, as the Virginia Department of Historic Resources has determined it is not historic, Bodson said.

Meanwhile, two items included in the original feasibility study — a stand-alone events center and reception area— are not included in this project plan, Bodson said.

“The realities of funding the two new features and validating the profitability of their operation limited their inclusion now,” said Bodson in a March 10 email.

The feasibility study was about how the buildings and property could be rehabilitated as a historic site, as well as be income producing, Bodson added.

Those items were part of the package sent to the Virginia Department of Historic Resources when the LLC sought approval for the restoration work, as the property is under a state-held historic easement that imposes certain restrictions.

However, the event barn and pavilion, once included on the park’s website, have been removed.

Bodson suggested that the LLC “time phase” the project and put a budget on it, so the LLC can keep track of funding availability.

Smithfield Town Council member Milton Cook, who is also on the Foundation board and LLC committee, said the water, sewer and electricity already available at the manor house are adequate for the future needs as proposed after the renovations are complete.   {/mprestriction}