Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

OKC Architectural Firm Carving Niche in Hospitality Industry

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

OKC Architectural Firm Carving Niche in Hospitality Industry

Article excerpt

A local architectural firm is making inroads into the national hospitality industry and taking advantage of demand for new hotels, a move that the firm's owners say could help double their business by 2004. Socrates Lazaridis, principal architect of Renaissance Architects in Oklahoma City, said his firm has had increasing success developing hotel designs for the hospitality industry. The company currently has nine hotel projects under way and others on the drawing board.

A year ago I never thought that we'd be as busy as we are now, said Lazaridis, sitting in a conference room surrounded by renderings of hotel projects. It's been a great year for us.

Renaissance Architects, 11100 Stratford Dr. in Oklahoma City, handles an array of architectural work but in recent years has specialized in work for the hospitality industry. The company's three licensed architects and staff of about 10 personnel do design work for several hotel and motel franchises, including Wingate Inn, AmeriSuites, Country Inns & Suites, Comfort Inn, Days Inn and Best Western.

The company got its start by offering lower-cost alternatives to the prototype hotel designs of many franchises, he said. Those lower- cost designs have since caught the attention of some of the hotel operators, who are now asking Renaissance Architects to develop prototypes for franchise hotels to be developed nationwide.

We do about four to five hotel projects a year in the range of $3.5 million to $5 million each, he said. We are averaging about $20 million a year in projects. We can double this in 2004.

So far, Lazaridis says the hotel projects are providing his firm with steady work, which is evident in the number of hotels now under construction.

Recently, construction was completed on an 80-room AmeriSuites in Midwest City that was designed by Renaissance Architects. The $5 million building has 49,299 square feet and opened in April.

Another 80-room AmeriSuites designed by the firm is under construction on Northwest Expressway in Oklahoma City. The building is expected to cost about $3.1 million to build, excluding the cost of the land and furnishings that are part of the project.

Construction also is under way on a $3.5 million 69-room Sleep Inn hotel at the intersection of SE 122nd Street and Interstate 35 in Oklahoma City. The 38,000-square-foot, three-story building is about 60 percent completed ahead of its year-end opening, he said.

Outside of the metro, Renaissance Architects has several other hotel projects in various phases of development. The firm is designing hotels for developers in San Antonio, Texas; Elkton, Md.; Plainfield, Ind.; Monroe, La.; Las Vegas; Henderson, Nev.; and Pacific, Mo. The company also is beginning planning for two Wingate Hotels in Oklahoma City and Tulsa.

Right now, we have nine hotels that are in the works, and I have two to three more that are ready to start, he said. …

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