The Virginia Tech Foundation, Inc. has selected Bruce Smith Enterprise, LLC (developer) to study the feasibility of a proposal to redevelop the Red Lion Inn site in Blacksburg. Bruce Smith Enterprise will be teaming with Armada Hoffler Development Company (general contractor), Drucker and Falk (apartment management), Barcelo Crestline (hotel management), and CMSS Architects (architecture, urban design and master planning) on the project.

The redevelopment, as proposed, is to consist of approximately 225 apartment units located in three buildings with a clubhouse, a limited service hotel of approximately 150 units, signature retail space of 5,000 square feet, and up to approximately 45,000 square feet of commercial/retail located on the ground floor of the apartment buildings.

“We evaluated more than a dozen proposals and are very pleased with the ideas put forward from Bruce Smith Enterprise. We are hopeful that this study will validate the concepts and the project’s feasibility,” said Raymond D. Smoot, chief operating officer for the Virginia Tech Foundation.

“I’m excited about doing business with the Virginia Tech Foundation. The Red Lion Inn site holds a special place in my memories of Blacksburg. The operation was full of life and energy. Indeed, it was a centerpiece of Blacksburg commerce and a gathering place for Virginia Tech athletics. We’re hopeful that we can return some of that excitement and add to the community,” said Bruce Smith, president of Bruce Smith Enterprise.

The site sits south of the intersection of Prices Fork Road and the U.S. 460 Bypass. The Red Lion Inn ceased operation in December, 2004. The Virginia Tech Foundation has granted the developer a 90-day study period, after which the parties will determine whether to proceed with the development.

The Virginia Tech Foundation, Inc. was established in 1948 to receive, manage, and disburse private assets in support of Virginia Tech programs. Among foundation projects are the Virginia Tech Corporate Research Center, Hotel Roanoke, European Studies Center, Equine Medical Center, and the Pete Dye River Course at Virginia Tech.

In 2004, Smith founded Bruce Smith Enterprise, LLC, a minority-owned commercial real estate firm that focuses on the development of quality mixed-use projects. Headquartered in Virginia Beach, Va., the company is engaged on sites within the local Hampton Roads community in addition to other major metropolitan cities around the United States. Smith is very familiar with the Blacksburg region and particularly interested in creating developments that offer successful combinations of residential, Class A office and upscale retail.

Since retiring from professional football in 2003, Smith has been spending more time cultivating his business. An alumnus of Virginia Tech, Smith first delved into commercial real estate development by partnering with Armada Hoffler in 1995 on the Boynton Commons Shopping Center in Boynton, Fla. Since then, he also has partnered with Armada Hoffler in the Mandarin Oriental Hotel, The Swedish Embassy and Harbourside office building, all in Washington D.C., and Blocks 7 and 10 in The Town Center of Virginia Beach.

Smith also is known for his philanthropic efforts and has served on a number of boards including the St. Jude's Children's Hospital, Operation Smile and was appointed by Gov. Mark Warner to the Virginia Tech Board of Visitors.