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Glass Light Hotel & Gallery

Clancy & Theys Construction Company provided construction management services for the conversion of the historic Royster building into a modern hotel. Designed by Ferguson, Calrow, & Taylor Architects in 1911 and built in 1912, this historic building was originally constructed as the headquarters for the F.S. Royster Fertilizer Company. The 15-story Classical-Revival building was predominantly used as an office building, and most recently served as the headquarters for the Norfolk Redevelopment and Housing Authority until its reimagining as an intellectually curious boutique hotel—Glass Light Hotel & Gallery.

The goal of the project was to transform the building into a modern hotel without losing any of its historic charm. Located in the Downtown Norfolk Historic District, the century-old building now boasts 113 masterfully detailed guest rooms and suites, two meeting rooms, two board rooms, an upscale French restaurant and bar, and a full-service kitchen. In support of the local arts community, the adjoining building is currently being transformed into a new, four-story art gallery and event space that will host rotating exhibits, including works from local artists.

The property was envisioned as a home for the hotel owners’ ever-expanding collection of singularly unique and profoundly exquisite glass art. From the moment hotel guests enter the historic building until they reach their room, the design of this distinctive boutique property creates an activated and highly-experiential journey, connecting them both conceptually and physically to the artwork. 

The successful preservation and conversion of this building illustrate that it is possible to fully embrace a historic building’s inherent character while altering its use to meet modern needs. The hope is that the resounding success of this project will serve as an inspiration to other developers in the preservation and rehabilitation of the Downtown Norfolk Historic District.