Acquisitions & Hotel Openings

Garfield Traub Opens Overton Hotel and Conference Center

$66 mil Project a Case Study of Public/Private Partnership

LUBBOCK, TX, September 15, 2009 - Garfield Traub Development, a real estate development services firm, announced today the completion and grand opening of the 303-room Overton Hotel and Conference Center in Lubbock, Texas.

The facility is expected to be a driving engine of development and economic growth for Lubbock for years to come. With more than 20,000 square feet of meeting space, the Overton Hotel and Conference Center is poised to attract state and regional conferences to Lubbock. The hotel is part of Overton Park District, the largest privately funded redevelopment project in the United States, based on acreage.

The Overton Hotel and Conference Center is a public/private partnership with the City of Lubbock, owner/operator 1859 Historic Hotels Ltd, and developer Garfield Traub, who led the project. Other project team members include DLR Group as design architect and MEP engineer; Turner Construction Company and Lee Lewis Contractors as general contractors; Loewen Design Group as interior designer; and AMD Engineering as civil engineer.

"From the beginning, we envisioned a world-class hotel and conference center for Lubbock," said Steve Moffett, president of Garfield Traub's Hospitality Division. "The overwhelming positive response from City officials, Texas Tech University, and citizens indicates that we have exceeded the community's expectations. This is a model example of how a public/private partnership should work to benefit all involved."

"In addition to building such a fabulous new hotel and conference center, we have recruited an excellent team to serve our guests," said General Manager Hunter Carmichael, "and it is exciting to see them working so well together. We have spent months in planning, construction, outfitting and training, and now we have hit the ground running with an excellent facility and staff providing the level of service modern business, conference and leisure travelers expect in an upscale facility."

At 15 stories, the hotel overlooks the adjacent Texas Tech University campus and Jones AT&T Stadium. The connection to the University is evident on the second floor, where a classroom for the Restaurant/Hotel & Institutional Management (RHIM) program prepares students for careers in the industry.

A short walk from retail stores, the Texas Tech campus, and other nearby attractions, DLR Group designed the hotel and conference center to accommodate both pedestrian and vehicular traffic in the simplest manner.

"DLR Group designers located parking adjacent to the conference center to enhance the streetscape and pedestrian experience leading to the hotel. The exterior architecture incorporates a glass pillar illuminating the nightscape," said Ken Martin, AIA, Principal with DLR Group. "Once inside, guests are greeted by a stunning lobby with 22-foot-high ceilings."

Amenities for the $66-million hotel and conference center include a business center, fitness center, restaurant, bar and outdoor pool. The hotel bar and lounge area serves as a hub of activity, situated between the hotel lobby and conference center.

An exquisite 11,250-square foot ballroom is connected to the hotel and located at street level to allow for ground-level courtyard access. The second level meeting rooms and executive boardrooms are accessed by a grand staircase connecting them to the ballroom level and hotel.

In addition to improving the local economy by attracting guests to major events, meetings and conferences, the facility has boosted Lubbock's employment outlook by hiring some 150 permanent employees. That is in addition to the hundreds who worked on the facility's construction.

The innovative capital plan structured by Garfield Traub for the development included private debt and equity, City bonds, naming rights, room licenses, and nonprofit foundation grants. The City will lease the publicly-owned conference center on a long-term basis to the hotel owner, who will operate the entire property seamlessly.

"This public/private partnership has produced the finest hotel and conference center in Lubbock and the region," Moffett said.

Coming Up In The November Online Hotel Business Review




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Feature Focus
Architecture & Design: Authentic, Interactive and Immersive
If there is one dominant trend in the field of hotel architecture and design, its that travelers are demanding authentic, immersive and interactive experiences. This is especially true for Millennials but Baby Boomers are seeking out meaningful experiences as well. As a result, the development of immersive travel experiences - winery resorts, culinary resorts, resorts geared toward specific sports enthusiasts - will continue to expand. Another kind of immersive experience is an urban resort one that provides all the elements you'd expect in a luxury resort, but urbanized. The urban resort hotel is designed as a staging area where the city itself provides all the amenities, and the hotel functions as a kind of sophisticated concierge service. Another trend is a re-thinking of the hotel lobby, which has evolved into an active social hub with flexible spaces for work and play, featuring cafe?s, bars, libraries, computer stations, game rooms, and more. The goal is to make this area as interactive as possible and to bring people together, making the space less of a traditional hotel lobby and more of a contemporary gathering place. This emphasis on the lobby has also had an associated effect on the size of hotel rooms they are getting smaller. Since most activities are designed to take place in the lobby, there is less time spent in rooms which justifies their smaller design. Finally, the wellness and ecology movements are also having a major impact on design. The industry is actively adopting standards so that new structures are not only environmentally sustainable, but also promote optimum health and well- being for the travelers who will inhabit them. These are a few of the current trends in the fields of hotel architecture and design that will be examined in the November issue of the Hotel Business Review.