|By Robert Evatt, Tulsa World,
Okla.McClatchy-Tribune Regional News
July 21, 2010--The Atlas Life Building was just converted into a Courtyard by Marriott six weeks ago, but its owners are already planning another new downtown hotel.
SJS Hospitality intends to construct a $11.4 million, four-story Fairfield Inn & Suites in the heart of the Brady Arts District.
The hotel, which will feature 11,500 square feet of retail, restaurant and entertainment space on its first floor, will aim for a sweet spot between modest and upscale that isn't being served, said Jeff Hartman, head of SJS Hospitality.
"Downtown Tulsa doesn't have a true, limited-service hotel," he said.
Although rents at the Courtyard by Marriott start at $139 per night, Hartman said the new hotel will be aimed at the $99 to $109 range.
SJS Hospitality will lease land for the project along the east side of Main Street between Archer and Brady streets from Brady 41 LLC, a joint partnership between David P. Sharp and Gregory Oliphant, both Tulsans.
Construction should begin within six months and be finished a year later, Hartman said. Will Wilkins of W3 Real Estate, which brokered the lease and will control leasing on the first floor of the building, said the location should give visitors a new type of neighborhood for overnight stays.
"It's a unique opportunity," he said. "It's at a central point between the BOK Center and ONEOK Field. It also has a lot of nearby amenities like arts and crafts and restaurants."
The land is currently a parking lot west of Caz's Chowhouse and across Main Street from the Mexicali Border Cafe.
The hotel will be completely
new construction with an attached parking lot, with none of its neighboring buildings affected, the developers said. Wilkins said the hotel will incorporate brickwork to help it blend with architecture in the area.
"This won't be your typical Fairfield design," he said.
W3 is negotiating with several interested tenants, including a "restaurant-entertainment" concept that's new to Tulsa, Wilkins said.
Hartman said part of the inspiration for the hotel stems from the amount of recent and upcoming development in the area, and noted that Tulsa Metro Chamber officials have said there's a need for more downtown hotel rooms.
The hotel will also be the debut of SJS Hospitality Management LLC, a full-service management company that aims to operate hotels throughout the region.
"We want to take our company toward management, whether it's hotels we've developed or existing ones," Hartman said.
As for the Courtyard hotel in the Atlas Building, Hartman said it's doing quite well. He said hotels generally take a year to 18 months to ramp up, and that the Courtyard has already made great strides.
"We've seen a number of 60 percent to 70 percent occupancy nights," he said. SJS Hospitality also owns and operates TownePlace Suites by Marriott and Holiday Inn Express Hotel & Suites, both in Broken Arrow near the Bass Pro Shops.
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