The first glimpse of designs for the 17-story Omni to be built next to the city's new convention center shows the hotel will front the future downtown boulevard with restaurants and bars designed also to draw visitors at the future Scissortail Park.
The 605-room hotel, along with a garage to be built by the city, is the last component yet to be seen by the public in the Core to Shore plan to transform a blighted swath of land between downtown and the Oklahoma River.
Designs by Rule Joy Trammel + Rubio show the hotel will have an outdoor pool surrounded by “resort-style” cabanas, green space and bar on the third floor facing Robinson Avenue that will overlook the park.
“The new Omni Hotel will become a fantastic highlight in Oklahoma City's Core to Shore vision,” architect Rob Rule said. “Located between the Chesapeake Energy Arena and the new convention center, the hotel will feature a tower that is oriented to minimize its shadow footprint on the new park across Robinson Avenue.”
Rule said a three-story podium building that stretch the entire block will feature restaurants, a sports bar, coffee shop, outdoor dining and shopping facing Robinson Avenue and the future Oklahoma City Boulevard.
Cathy O'Connor, president of The Alliance for Economic Development of Oklahoma City, has led development efforts with Omni, with Oklahoma City firm GSB tasked to coordinate the project design with the surrounding project architects and engineers.
“We really like the restaurants being oriented along Robinson facing out to the park,” O'Connor said. “There is another restaurant facing out to the boulevard and the area with entertainment and bar. We think the most important corner is at Robinson and the boulevard, and they've really taken advantage of that.”
Another feature of the design unique to Oklahoma City is the creation of an underground drive from the garage to the hotel's drop off for guests. By building the connection, along with underground parking for about 20 cars, Omni is designing a hotel that won't cause traffic backups for valet parking.
Rule said his team drew from the character of the surrounding downtown that exists now and what's set to rise up over the next three years.
“The hotel will feature materials and details that blend the best of Oklahoma's rich historical heritage and future cultural optimism, complete with a variety of brick facades that relate to Bricktown, to expansive use of glass and metal details with clean elegant detailing.”
The deal with Omni to build, own and operate the hotel was approved last summer by the Oklahoma City Council after they were told by consultants and experts in the convention business a headquarters hotel is necessary to the success of the $288 million convention center.
Oklahoma City is to provide $85.4 million in financing for the hotel, while Omni is investing $150.1 million. O'Connor, meanwhile, is working on potential plans to wrap the garage with workforce housing that could change the city's cost for the structure. The garage would provide parking to the hotel, convention center, park and the Chesapeake Energy Arena.
Construction of the hotel and convention center are expected to start this summer, while the garage won't start until 2019 as OGE Energy Corp. is given time to relocate its data center at the site. The park is already under construction, while work is set to start this spring on the boulevard.
The entire area, which has largely been cleared in recent months, is expected to be completed by 2020. O'Connor said the hotel, intended to increase Oklahoma City's draw for conventions, will end up being a local attraction as well.
“The convention center hotel provides the space we need to compete for large conventions that often require a room block of 500 or more,” O'Connor said. “But I'm also pleased with how the hotel offers amenities and features that Oklahoma City residents will enjoy.”
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