HOW HAS COVID-19 IMPACTED THIS PROJECT?
How has COVID-19 impacted our project?
The hospitality industry has been devastated by the economic standstill caused by this health pandemic. With that, our funding has been negatively impacted and will delay our opening date. However, as we shared in our recent blog, Covid Consequences, we have amazing partners and a clear path to success. We believe that our offering, focused on wellness and nature in a drive-able destination, will enable people to have healthy and renewing retreats for decades to come. This can serve as an antidote during the “new normal” as we get through this COVID crisis.
When will the resort open and who will operate it?
The resort will operate year-round and we plan to open in late 2022. We have partnered with a hospitality brand who will manage and operate the guest experience, marketing, and maintenance activities. The current ownership group will still be actively involved.
Who are the owners?
Mike Marburg is the Founder and CEO of Wellmore Partners LLC and lives in Ashburn, VA with his wife and three children. He is a former public equities investor and grew up in Maryland. He plans to live on the site with his family. There will also be other general and limited partners who are part of the ownership team.
Who will stay there and for how long?
Guests will be regular people who love nature and are interested in personal development. We will not serve guests that have serious medical, mental or addiction issues needing professional intervention. We will have a 3-night minimum and guests will typically stay 4-6 nights.
What will the master plan and main campus look like?
On the North side of the property, we are planning a campus area that will include a spa, a food and beverage building, a meeting facility, and a fitness area. We will also have a yoga building and arrival center around the campus. All buildings are one story and can not be seen from the road.
A short walk from the campus are the guest cabins on two ridge lines. There will be 17 of these modern one-story cabins, each with 6-7 guest bedrooms and private bathrooms.
We will also have an area for a subset of the staff to live on the South side of the property, along with a vast array of trails and outdoor destinations (e.g., hammocks, ropes course, meditation platform, etc.).
Will weddings or other large gatherings be held at the resort?
We will not host any events involving non-guests including weddings, festivals and concerts. There will be no outdoor speakers or bright lighting on the campus affecting the beautiful Star Tannery sky.
How many jobs will be created and what types of roles?
The resort will create well over 200 full and part-time jobs and open in late 2022. We plan to create economically sustainable career paths where individuals can align with their innate talents and calling.
The types of roles will include spa and healing professionals, activity guides/instructors, guest services, maintenance/housekeeping, food service, marketing, management and forestry, just to name a few.
Will neighbor hunting rights be disrupted?
No! We support the hunting and fishing heritage of the surrounding lands and will provide a buffer on our property to ensure safety. We plan on offering wilderness survival skills and bow training workshops on the site to reflect this heritage.
How will this benefit the local neighbors and Shenandoah Valley?
We will have a neighborhood membership program giving access to certain amenities like trails, dining and meeting space as well as services like massage and acupuncture. This project will also diversify the tax base away from property tax revenue by adding sales and occupancy tax dollars from tourists without further burdening the education system.
Finally, in addition to creating over 200 full and part-time jobs, we will co-promote other local tourist attractions. See the Community tab for more information.
Is this a cult or some secret organization (religious or otherwise)?
No! Mother Nature is the only “guru” for our retreat, and all of our activities are based on things that are obviously healthy (e.g., eating well, hiking, yoga, swimming, etc) or areas that have recently been proven by western science as being very helpful for leading a healthy and balanced life (e.g., yoga, myofascial release massage, meditation, acupressure, etc). The resort has no religious affiliation.
What if the owner passes away, sells the business, or the concept goes into bankruptcy?
Mike plans to live on site, but regardless of his ongoing involvement, the special use permit limits any future owners from meaningfully changing the wellness and nature resort. It will limit growth and create boundaries around what can and cannot happen in the future, regardless of new ownership or management.
How do I inquire about working at the resort?
If you are interested in working at the resort either during construction or afterwards, please feel free to send Heather Mack an email with your contact information and background. We will not break ground until 2021 and open in late 2022.
Will this disrupt my peaceful lifestyle?
Protecting the current Shenandoah way of life is very important to us. We will take many steps to preserve this, like limiting commercial traffic through consolidation efforts and requiring that guests stay on sight to restrict car traffic. One of our major activities is silence, something we will practice multiple times every day and in many different types of activities, so maintaining a peaceful environment is in our best interest as well.