Hostel takeover: Monroe Ward building sells for $1.8 million

The HI Richmond Hostel closed earlier this year after a six-year run but it will reopen under new ownership. (Mike Platania photo)

After its previous operator closed it down earlier this year, the city’s only hostel looks set to reopen under new ownership.

The former HI Richmond Hostel building at 7 N. 2nd St. in Monroe Ward sold earlier this week for $1.8 million.

The buyer was Potomac Area Hostels Inc., which operates a hostel in Harper’s Ferry, Maryland, about an hour northwest of Washington, D.C.

A division of nonprofit Hostelling International USA bought the former Otis Elevators building in 2011 for $525,000 and kicked off an approximately $2 million renovation of the 96-year-old building, funded with the help of private donations, tax credits and grants.

The HI Richmond Hostel opened with 50 beds in 2015. But as the pandemic arrived and lingered in the U.S. last year, the hostel’s temporary closure turned permanent over the winter and the building was put on the market.

Potomac Area Hostels acquired the 13,800-square-foot building July 26, city property records show. It was most recently assessed at $1.46 million. S.L. Nusbaum’s David Kalman and Thomas Langston represented HI USA in the deal.

Neither Potomac Area Hostels’ director Henry Wixon, nor HI USA officials were available for comment by press time.

In addition to overnight lodging starting at $30 per night, Potomac Area Hostel’s location in Harper’s Ferry also takes advantage of the nearby Potomac River and Appalachian Trail, offering guided outdoor activities including hiking, mountain biking, rock climbing and water sports.

After unloading the Richmond hostel, HI USA currently operates 32 hostels around the country, per its website.

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