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A 124-room Holiday Inn Express will replace the former Steffen’s Ice Cream building in Bricktown. Work will begin this spring, and be completed within the next 12 months. A building permit filed with the city listed the job value of the project at $18 million.
Scott Dedmon and J.C. Witcher, with architecture firm ADG, presented the plan to the Bricktown Urban Design Committee Jan. 22 for approval, on behalf of Irving, Texas-based hotel developer Daxesh Patel. His company has hotels in Texas and Arkansas.
The site, 101 E. Main, was slated for a Holiday Inn Express in 2008 with a different developer. Those plans fell through, but committee member Bob Bright questioned Dedmon about the committee’s prior approval for the hotel that would have retained some of the walls of the Steffen’s building.
“The retention of these historical elements was important to the committee at that time,” Bright said.
With the building in disrepair, and the inability to determine how long a certain wall had been a part of the building, Dedmon said it made sense to build the new hotel from scratch. The designs include a brick façade with a glassed, two-story lobby and restaurant area on the southwest corner, and a looming, three-story, aluminum entry feature over the front door.
The protruding aluminum entryway drew criticism from committee members for its design and materials.
“It just seems to be stuck on what’s otherwise a very handsome building,” Bright said.
Committee member Phil Miller didn’t mind the design, but didn’t care for the aluminum. Dedmon responded to concerns that the entryway looked too modern on the brick building, and that it would clash with the fabric of other historic buildings in the area.
“This contemporary expression is an addition to Bricktown,” he said.
Dedmon argued that while the design has strong connections to Bricktown’s past, he is not trying to replicate what is already there.
“We’re scraping the site clean and building a building in 2013,” he said. “I don’t feel coming in and building a building that’s kind of a Disneyland replica of the warehouses is the right thing to do.”
The committee approved the plan on the condition that Dedmon return with additional options for the front entrance. Signage on the building will require a separate approval.
K.J. Jones, who builds hotels for Patel, said the company handles the construction and operation of its hotels. He said the company’s biggest hotel is the 107-room Couryard Marriott in Amarillo, which is in a renovated, historic building.
Demolition of the Steffen’s building will commence this spring, Jones said, with construction to begin immediately thereafter. He said the company would like to have it open in 2014, if not sooner.“I’d like to have it open by Christmas,” he said.