The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

January 31, 2013

Adding downtown hotel space

By Robert Barron, Staff Writer
Enid News and Eagle

ENID, Okla. — At least part of Enid’s historic Broadway Tower will be turned into a boutique hotel and help to fill the need for downtown hotel space, the building’s new owner said.

Boutique hotels often contain luxury facilities of varying sizes in unique or intimate settings, said owner Johnny Peart. Typically, boutique hotels are furnished in a themed or stylish manner. They often are individual and focused on offering services in a comfortable, intimate and welcoming setting, he said.

Peart said he and his staff have met with city officials about zoning, and have spent a lot of time with Fire Marshal Ken Helms. Main Street Enid had a questionnaire on its website about turning Broadway Tower into a boutique hotel, and Peart said reviews were overwhelmingly positive.

“Because of the need for hotel rooms and the new event center opening, we felt boutique hotel rooms was the thing to do,” Peart said.

There are some existing tenants with long-term leases, and some with short-term leases who may want to stay at the Broadway Tower, and Peart said he is working with them. He plans to work around the vacant floors — about half the building — with each hotel room having the same footprint.

The decor still is being developed. Peart said he may have a separate theme for each floor. The rooms will be average sized for hotel rooms, and he hopes to have 10-foot ceilings in each room.

If possible, they will design doors between the rooms so that one room can flow into another as a suite. Peart doesn’t know if every room will be designed that way, but said some will.

“Average price makes the most sense. There won’t be any high-end, $200-a-night rooms, I can tell you that,” he said.

He is uncertain how many rooms will be in the hotel, because of the tenants who already have leases who may want to stay. There are long-term leases he said will be honored. He has spoken with Stephen Jones, an attorney who has been in the Broadway Tower for a long time and plans to stay.

Peart is working with Helms to determine how the fire prevention sprinklers and alarms need to be laid out. He said safety is his first priority.

Peart said he has been interested in the building for some time and worked on closing for 10 months. The oil play is one thing that attracted him to Enid.

“They showed a need for rooms, especially downtown. Such a push to grow the downtown felt like a win-win to us,” Peart said. “When people stay downtown, they are spending money there and congregating there.”

Peart also is interested in families of students at Vance Air Force Base. There is a graduation every three weeks, and families may want to stay downtown.

“It makes sense for them to stay and be entertained downtown,” he said. Peart said he has talked to officials with Global Spectrum, which manages Convention Hall and will manage Enid Event Center when it is finished in June. Keller Taylor, general manager of the facilities, told him they need rooms now. Taylor could have been booking conventions if hotel space was available, Peart said.

“When we first came to Enid to investigate, we could barely get a place to stay,” Peart said.

Peart also plans to put in a restaurant on the main floor. On the east side of the main floor will be an Internet cafe, he said. All along the mezzanine there will be many kinds of shops.

An artist’s concept is being done, and Peart said he expects it to be ready in about two weeks. There is a question about what to call the building, and he said he may hold a contest with a prize for the winning name.

Because of the new concept for the building, Peart does not think simply calling it the Broadway Tower is sufficient.

He also is considering an art contest for Enid students. Students would submit pictures of the Broadway Tower, along with some historical facts. The pictures would hang in the lobby, and the winners would receive a donation to their favorite charity.

Peart said nothing will be done to the exterior of the building. He is attracted to the art deco design, and  met with Oklahoma Historical Society officials in Oklahoma City .

“The exterior interested me. It’s stronger than they build them in 2013,” Peart said.

Peart’s company, Tower Properties LLC, is based in Toronto and Miami. The sale of Broadway Tower was announced in December, with a sale price of $250,000.