An emerging trend that architects are seeing taking shape in hotel development is the conversion of older office buildings into hotels. Office space locations and needs are rapidly changing as trends in the traditional office environment are evolving.
Companies in suburban areas want to be in “live, work, play” locations causing an increase in office buildings sitting vacant that don’t offer “urban type” amenities, such as walkability, public transit, more housing options, retail and restaurants. Large office buildings and huge surface parking lots are less appealing to companies. Hotel developers are seeing these buildings as prime locations for hotel properties. Many of these outdated office buildings need modern improvements and through that process are being converted to other uses.
Stephen Overcash, an architect with extensive expertise in hotel design and construction for more than 20 years anticipates work in this area to continue. His firm, Overcash Demmitt Architects specializes in custom hotel design and is currently working on several office-to-hotel conversions. A 70’s era office tower near Baltimore Washington International Airport is being converted into a 130-guestroom Hyatt House Hotel. Another project being designed is the conversion of a 20-year old office in Greenville, SC to a 140-guestroom full-service hotel.
“Converting office buildings makes sense as hotel development continues to thrive, and prime locations are harder to find. Workplace dynamics are continuing to change, and more modern workplaces are being located closer to urban amenities, leaving these older office buildings vacant,” says Overcash. “It is more efficient to convert an office building to a hotel versus building new. It’s more environmentally friendly and saves months of tedious site approvals and permitting”.
Another advantage of converting an office building is that hotels require less parking than offices. The large parking lots necessary for the office user is prime real estate for an additional hotel or restaurant. Some of the challenges that Overcash has experienced in transforming offices is the need to accommodate different structural requirements, the need for additional elevators and the need to meet additional air conditioning and plumbing loads. “These requirements are easy to design around, and for the hoteliers, the opportunities far exceed the challenges.”
Overcash also has experience in converting office buildings into other uses, such as climate controlled storage buildings, residential, retail and restaurants. In New Jersey, his firm is converting an office building into Lifestyle Storage.
Overcash Demmitt Architects (ODA) has specialized in custom hotel design for more than 20 years and worked with all the major brands including Marriott, Hilton, IHG, Choice International and Hyatt. Current trends in hotel design include rooftop restaurants and incorporating mixed use amenities to properties. “The key to great hotel design is creating FUN elements that WOW guests and create memorable customer experiences. Outdoor spaces are also really important and inviting for guests,” remarks Overcash.
“Another important factor in great hotel design are efficiencies. Good design entails paying attention to the little things that make the hotel efficient in its operations, reduces construction costs and on-going utility costs”.
Overcash Demmitt Architects (ODA) have provided architectural expertise to clients for more than 30 years in Charlotte and throughout the eastern United States. Stephen Overcash and Tim Demmitt, principals, built their firm with the philosophy that FUNomenal Design is an attitude and a culture. The staff of 35 architects and interior designers create interactive and interesting places that delight employees as well as their guests. To learn more visit www.oda.us.com or call 704.332.1615.