Coury courts DDRC with Ambassador design plan


Chairman of the
Ambassador Hotel Collection, Coury plans to open the hotel in the Osler building,
1200 N. Walker, which was added to the National Register of Historic Places
this year. The first three floors were built in 1928, the second three in 1929,
and the seventh floor was added in 1949. It was built by the Physicians Holding
Company, and used for years as a medical office building and doctor’s offices.

The initial designs were
brought to the Downtown Design Review Committee Nov. 15 by Coury and his
architect, Catherine Montgomery with Preservation & Design Studio. It is currently
owned by the MidTown group led by Bob Howard, Mickey Clagg and Chris Fleming.
The three own, and have renovated many nearby properties.

Coury said he plans to
close on the sale of the building next week, and begin work early next year. The
$13 million project will include 54 rooms, a restaurant, rooftop bar, and
swimming and recreation area at the back of the building on its east side. The
Ambassador group will manage the hotel.

Rather than brand it with another
name, Coury said he wanted consistency with his properties. He has Ambassadors
in Tulsa, Kansas City and Wichita.

“We decided there was more
cross marketing with all the hotels if we had a brand so people know what to
expect,” he said.

Room rates likely will average around $170-$180 per night, he said, in an effort to make the hotel’s pricing
competitive with other upscale properties Downtown.

Committee members liked the
plan, but had concerns with two stair towers that would be added at the back of
the building, facing east. Montgomery said they are required for egress. Chairwoman Betsy
Brunsteter, an architect with ADG, said looked
like “two gigantic blocks.”

The renderings showed the towers in a darker color
than the building, with sparse windows. Brunsteter said she would like to see
more glass and light in that feature. Otherwise, she said, the plan looked fine.

“I applaud this project,”
she said. “It’s going to be a wonderful addition to MidTown.”

The committee gave Coury
the go-ahead to build the stairs so that the project can stay on target, but
will required him to return with exterior design renovations for the stair
towers at the committee’s December meeting. Coury said he plans to have the
hotel open by the end of 2013.

Rendering of the southeast corner of the proposed Ambassador Hotel, showing stair towers


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