Transforming Frederick's Visitation Academy

A large historical property in the heart of Downtown Frederick is getting a new lease on life. The Visitation Academy of Frederick was established in 1846 as a private Roman Catholic school for girls. The 3-acre site stretches between East Church Street and East 2nd Street, and includes a large 3-story building once used for living quarters and classrooms, as well as a chapel. The academy gets its name from the Visitation Sisters, the group of nuns who founded the school and lived on the property until 2005. The Visitation Academy operated until 2016.

Developer 02J Visitation LLC purchased the property in 2020 and has gone through various setbacks over that time, including a pandemic, supply chain issues and a fire. However, work continues on the massive project that includes a hotel and event space, restaurant and condominiums. The project involves a renovation of the existing buildings, as well as new construction on the site. Before work started, the developer met with neighbors and community members to determine the best fit for the property, and the need for a hotel in Downtown Frederick was expressed. The main 3-story building is being transformed into the Visitation Hotel Frederick, a Tribute Portfolio Hotel. The boutique hotel is affiliated with Marriott and will have 67 rooms. A large space at the end of the hotel will serve as a venue for wedding receptions and other events, and the historic Visitation Chapel next door will be transformed into a restaurant under famed Frederick chef Bryan Voltaggio. On-site parking and valet services will also make visiting convenient for patrons. The restaurant and hotel are expected to be completed by spring of 2024.

Special touches pay homage to the property’s history, including displayed photos and trinkets found when excavating the site. Original materials are being maintained wherever possible, and the restaurant plan involves restoring the chapel’s ornate details to make the space truly unique. The development team has quite a bit of experience with the adaptive reuse of historic buildings, transforming more than a dozen properties in Maryland and Delaware. Jim O’Hare of 02J Visitation, LLC says of the Frederick project, “The structures themselves are really remarkable. Our goal is to not only preserve the building, but by restoring the building, it helps us to tell the story of Visitation.”

While renovation is well underway on the property, new construction is also going up. Two large buildings house two and three-bedroom luxury condominiums. Named the Visitation Frederick Condominiums, these residences are single-floor living and feature private garages and balconies. The first condo building includes ten units (which have all been sold) and is expected to be ready for residents to move in next month. The seven units in the second condo building are selling now and are anticipated by mid-2024. O’Hare tells us the rarity of having an entire city block in downtown available is unusual and part of what really makes this project special. We can’t wait to see the completed Visitation project, highlighting Frederick’s history while bringing modern amenities to Downtown Frederick.