Downtown hotel developers hope for October opening

Concrete workers develop the parking lot of the downtown hotel Friday, July 24, 2020. (Billy Hefton / Enid News & Eagle)

Enid’s downtown Best Western GLō hotel now has a “good possibility” of opening by October, the project’s construction manager said Thursday.

Construction manager Mike Quarter said the project team is waiting for the city to approve the hotel’s ventilation system before moving on to its interior finishes.

In late-December 2019, then-construction superintendent Ernesto Diaz told the Enid News & Eagle he estimated another six months of work ahead.

However, in January, a city of Enid code inspector told a mechanical subcontractor to remove duct work and sheet rock to replace the hotel’s heating and air conditioning system, which already had been code-approved, Quarter said.

Getting the heating and air system up to code has been the main delay for the last six months, said Quarter, who's hired subcontractors and suppliers since work began in early 2018.

“There’s been periods of time where nothing’s been going on,” Quarter said of the last six months.

Ground on the hotel project was broken February 2018, and the job, once expected to finish by summer 2019, has since dragged past all predictions. Two main delays have been repeatedly cited by several involved in the project: inclement weather and scheduling and hiring issues with subcontractors.

The city received engineers’ redrawing of the hotel’s ventilation system three weeks ago, city code official Ken Bradley said.

The engineering team of the developer, ENIDBWP, not the city, is responsible for redrawing, Bradley said, adding the redrawing process is a long one and depends on the project.

If any changes are made to the original contracting plan, Bradley said, the subcontractor has to submit changes to the engineering team, which then submits those to city code officials for review. Contractors changed from electric to gas heaters, as well as bathroom exhaust and the type of ductwork, among other changes that needed to be re-approved in January, Bradley said.

Seven total inspections also have since been completed on the pool house, including two mechanical inspections, exterior and interior framing inspections and an electrical inspection, Bradley said. Twelve total on the pool house alone could be completed by the time the hotel is finished, he said. Bathroom drawings also have been approved.

Construction began this week on the hotel’s pool and parking lot, Quarter said. A surveyor has come out to the site, lights are being installed and workers are grading the parking lot — cutting dirt down to needed height and making sure parking lot is level or slopes to the correct direction, Bradley said.

Quarter said since December, the hotel is connected to the city’s power grid and natural gas lines.

“All utilities are good to go,” Quarter said.

Construction of the Best Western brand hotel was proposed to city commissioners in February 2017, and Enid Economic Development Authority entered into an agreement with the hotel developer that same month.

ENIDBWP, registered to Edmond-based cardiologist and hotelier Atul Patel, agreed to take on the project if the city provided a 40% room occupancy rate for five years.

Main Street Enid Director Natalie Beurlot said with a possible October opening, visitors coming just in time for the holiday season will be able to stay in what she called “the heart” of the city.

Along with monthly First Friday events, Main Street Enid organizes downtown Enid’s annual Lights Up the Plains holiday lighting ceremony.

For those staying at the Best Western GLō, shopping, dining and entertainment all will be within walking distance, Beurlot said.

“(The hotel) is an opportunity to bring everything back downtown,” she said. “That’s how it was in the past, and we hope it’ll be the same for the future.”

Enid is the next city in line to host the state’s regular Main Street director training, which was delayed and then went virtual because of the COVID-19 pandemic — with the hotel hopefully offering another boost, she said.

“This will be the perfect place for (tourism) dollars to be spent,” Beurlot said.

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Ewald is copy editor and city reporter for the Enid News & Eagle. Follow him on Twitter, @oualexewald.

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