Adaptive Reuse and Hotel Design - Stage Two
Repurposing Historic Buildings as Modern Hotels That Tell Engaging Stories
By Robert Habeeb President & Chief Executive Officer, First Hospitality Group, Inc. | June 15, 2014
Adaptive reuse hotel projects have been increasingly popular the last few years due to growing competition for quality locations and with prime urban hotel development sites at a premium. But today, its not just hotel owners and developers proposing historic buildings as revenue generators, it's also customer demand, as consumers are hooked on the concept of unique travel experiences.
This increase in interest from the consumers, Millennials in particular, is redefining and shaping the industry's approach to design, requiring us to be even more transparent about the historic adaptation process. Millennials don't just want to see a beautiful atrium and be told it's historic. They want to know who originally built it and why, what is it made out of; they want the story.
To be successful with adaptive reuse hotel projects today, developers need to honor the fundamentals of a historic renovation (which are inherently more complex than a standard renovation or new construction), while seemlessly weaving in the property's unique story. Developers, owners, operators, and investors interested in moving forward on the renovation of a historic property should consider the following list of dos and don'ts as a framework for thinking about adaptive reuse basics in the context of a hospitality project:
Know What You are Getting Into
The technical challenges involved with bringing an old structure not just up to code, but up to date, can be immense. Aside from the potentially deal-breaking construction issues, consider the technical infrastructure required to support ubiquitous and essential features like high-speed WiFi access for guests. That alone can require an extraordinary effort to accommodate. Adaptive reuse projects may include dealing with dangerous or decrepit materials, and systems such as HVAC.