March 29, 2018

by Paula C. Squires


Hospitality executive Bruce L. Thompson once told the Virginia Beach City Council that he didn’t want to be “the guy who tore the hotel down.”

These days, Thompson and his business partners are being praised as the group that saved the iconic Historic Cavalier Hotel and Beach Club.  After nearly five years and $81 million in renovations, the historic Virginia Beach hotel officially reopened March 7.

“It could have had 3,200 units on it,” Thompson, CEO of Gold Key| PHR, a Virginia Beach-based hospitality company, told a large gathering that attended the property’s ribbon-cutting celebration.

Thompson was referring to other developers who wanted to demolish the hotel and put up high-density residential projects after a judge ordered that the property be sold in 2012. The order was aimed at resolving a lawsuit over minority shareholder rights that had been filed by warring factions of the Disthene Group, the hotel’s owner at the time.