Pack brothers to help develop Fort Monroe

Published 3:49 pm Wednesday, May 19, 2021

The Smithfield-based Pack brothers have been tapped to develop a 500-seat restaurant, 250-person conference center, 90-room boutique hotel and 300-slip remodeled marina at the historic Fort Monroe.

Gov. Ralph Northam made the announcement Wednesday after the approval by the Fort Monroe Authority of the 40-year ground lease with Pack Brothers Hospitality.

Pack Brothers Hospitality now has the right to develop the southwestern edge of the fort designated as the Marina District in its Reimagine Fort Monroe initiative. The Marina District lies on the southwestern edge of the fort and adjacent to The Chamberlin on Fort Monroe in Hampton.

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Pack Brothers Hospitality principals Randy and Brian Pack, both of Smithfield, are seasoned veterans of hospitality operations and development. The Pack brothers own and operate Smithfield Station in Smithfield and The Surry Seafood Company in Surry.

37 North at Fort Monroe is the chosen moniker for the new property and will pay tribute to the geographical location of the fort and give homage to the area the Pack brothers have always called home. The waterfront restaurant will repurpose the Old Torpedo Storehouse and the Old Cable Tank Building at the Fort, as well as an extensive 15,000 square foot outdoor deck overlooking the Hampton Roads harbor. Guests can enjoy an exciting menu focused on seafood, steak and regional favorites. The indoor bar will host more than 100 rotating beers on tap featuring local and national brews.

A repurposed historic CAS Bindery will host a 250-person event facility and will be complemented by a newly constructed 90-room boutique hotel. The hotel will not carry the flag of a brand, but rather remain an independent property, similar to that of the Packs’ other two properties. This boutique hotel will be built entirely over the water and offer private balconies with waterfront views from every room.

The marina, currently operating as Old Point Comfort Marina, will receive a dramatic face lift. During renovations, all docks will be replaced with new floating docks to include a 1,600-foot concrete super dock that will serve as a wave attenuator and replace the failing timber wave screen. The existing ships store and marina office will be replaced with a new structure to offer an enhanced ships store, a home for the Old Point Comfort Marina Yacht Club and a pool for marina guests.

“On behalf of our family, our employees, and the patrons who support our family businesses, Pack Brothers Hospitality is thrilled to accept this new challenge to repurpose and adaptively reuse the property at Old Point Comfort Marina,” said Randy Pack. “We recognize the value of this historic property, what it means to the community, and believe our proposal will become an East Coast resort destination suitable for association with a National Monument such as Fort Monroe.”

The ground lease contains a list of contingencies and requirements including environmental protection provisions and historic preservation covenants that Pack Brothers Hospitality must meet prior to beginning construction on the site.

“Fort Monroe is among the most important historic sites in our country and Commonwealth, and must be redeveloped in a way that reflects and preserves this significance,” said Northam. “Pack Brothers Hospitality shares our vision, and I am thrilled to see a Virginia company win this contract. Our Administration remains committed to protecting this historical and natural area, expanding access to its recreational opportunities, and maintaining Fort Monroe as a place that is desirable to live, work, and visit now and for generations to come.”

Earlier this year, Governor Northam announced that the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) designated Fort Monroe as a Site of Memory Associated with the UNESCO Slave Route project. Fort Monroe shares this distinction with more than 50 other sites and entities linked to the history of the transatlantic slave trade.

“It is critical that as we continue to preserve and reimagine this National Monument, we redevelop these hallowed grounds in the framework of historic justice,” said Secretary of Natural Resources Matthew J. Strickler. “I look forward to continuing to tell the important stories of Fort Monroe, while creating opportunities for Virginians and visitors to experience its natural beauty.”

“The Pack Brothers proposal demonstrates that they fully grasp the significance of this historic site as well as its potential as a deep-water marina with unobstructed access,” said Glenn Oder, executive director of the Fort Monroe Authority. “This adaptive reuse proposal will meet the high standards of our governing documents and reestablish Fort Monroe as a historic resort site on the Chesapeake Bay.”

Design and permitting is slated to begin immediately, with an anticipated opening date of spring 2025.