WINCHESTER — The historic building at 25 W. Piccadilly St. that most recently housed Joe’s Steakhouse has been transformed into an event center that can be rented out for weddings, parties or business meetings.

Piccadilly Place opened to the public last week. Six events have already been booked with the first scheduled for May 14.

Built in 1838, the three-story brick mansion is where Confederate Col. George S. Patton — grandfather of World War II Gen. George S. Patton Jr. — died when the home served as a hospital during the Civil War. The building once housed the Colonial Art & Craft gift shop for many years, as well as apartments. It later served as Joe’s Steakhouse from 2013 to 2018. The property was purchased at auction by Scott Bessette, through Charter Technoogies LLC, in August 2019 for $682,500. He closed on the building Sept. 16, 2019.

Bessette recalled that he had eaten dinner with some friends at Joe's Steakhouse about four years ago.

“We had to sit in a corner because it was happy hour, and the place was not uncrowded,” Bessette said in an email. “I don't remember what I ate, but I do remember it was a very fun evening, with very good friends, in a building that had been standing for almost 200 years. It had been home to families, a boarding house for strangers, a hospital in time of war and a bank in times of prosperity. It had hosted the sale of wedding gifts that have become family heirlooms, and I'm sure, items that were divided when the gifts outlasted the union of marriage. Regardless, the building, throughout the ages, had had purpose.”

When the restaurant closed, Bessette said the power was turned off and the building was left without a purpose. He thought it was a shame to leave such a building vacant and decided, along with his wife Barbara, to purchase it.

“We simply wanted to save the building,” he said. “To take her back to the way she used to be, and at some point in the future, to leave her much better than we had received her.”

Turning the restaurant into an event center required extensive renovations. At the time of purchase, all of the pipes had burst and the HVAC system was compromised, Bessette said. Renovations began in late December 2019 and were finished last month.

“So we completely gutted it and brought it back to its original footprint and layout with a couple of minor changes,” Bessette said. “It has all new electric, all new HVAC.”

The idea to turn the building into an event center came after months of thought, discussion and consideration. Bessette said he and his wife decided to let the building “be whatever the people, and the city, of Winchester, Virginia, want her to be.”

“She will be available to host whatever event that may provide her with the purpose she needs,” Bessette said in an email. “... That will be her purpose for the foreseeable future: Hosting events and making memories. Full of laughter, joy, maybe a few tears, and certainly celebration.”

As part of the renovations, Bessette removed 200 years worth of add-ons to get back to the building’s original structure. He also created an extensive bridal salon with room for socializing, refreshments, dressing, hair and makeup. There's also an English Pub atmosphere for grooms that includes a billiards room, card and game room and lounge with a bar.

Piccadilly Place also features an all new, commercial kitchen with a 10-burner stove, griddle, char-grill, four ovens, warming holders, six refrigeration units and commercial ice-making capacity. There is also a custom-made walnut bar, with commercial bar back refrigeration, glass chillers, sinks and a service station.

Piccadilly Place is available for rent for weddings, holiday parties, private dinners, corporate meetings, seminars, birthdays, special life events and club meetings. Bessette said the plan is to schedule just one event per day. He said it feels “great” to have the building restored. Because the COVID-19 pandemic canceled many weddings last year, there is an increased demand for wedding venues.

“The community has been tremendously supportive,” Bessette said. “… It’s nice to have the building back.”

For more information or to schedule an event, visit: piccadillyplace.com or call 866-316-2122.

— Contact Josh Janney at jjanney@winchesterstar.com