Originally published on TulsaWorld.com
Getting the Hyatt Place hotel erected and operational has been a marathon, and project partner Sunny Patel Chatterjee is grateful to reach the finish line.
“This is a story of survival,” Chatterjee said of the undertaking, which has taken a few years. “We could have shut the project down. I think the banks would have understood. The city would have understood you know because it’s a federal tax program.
“But one of the best things that came out of it is that we worked through COVID. We had employees that we had to keep and their jobs didn’t get lost. All of our subcontractors had committed to this. So if we had let them go, all those months they had committed to this project would have been gone.”
Thursday marks the soft opening of the 103-unit Hyatt Place, a transformation of the 13-story Boston Building at 400 S. Boston Ave. The venture is a partnership among operator 3S Hotels Groups, River City Development and RK Development, Chatterjee said.
The new Tulsa hotel, which took advantage of historic tax credits, comes at a trying time for the hospitality industry.
The coronavirus crisis has affected that sector the most locally, with 14,069 jobs being lost, 13,830 of which have been recovered, state economist Mark Snead told the Tulsa Regional Chamber event last week.
Moreover, a recent national survey commissioned by the American Hotel & Lodging Association indicates that only 8% of Americans say they have taken an overnight business trip since March. In addition, only 8% say they expect to travel for business within the next six months.
Since that survey, which was taken in early November, economic hopes have been bolstered by COVID-19 vaccinations, which started this week.
“We took a flight of faith,” Chatterjee said. “But in hindsight, we made the best decisions for our company and the city of Tulsa. I honestly think it’s going to be a great year. It may be a little struggle in January. But I think in February we’re going to do amazing.”
The Boston Building was completed in 1967 as headquarters of the Home Federal Savings & Loan Association, which later became Sooner Federal Savings & Loan, which dissolved in 1992. The building was closed shortly before hotel plans commenced.
Adorned with copious, vertical windows, Hyatt Place features a lobby with a Starbucks and bar with pendulum lighting. Hand-etched in copper-brass panels near the elevators and on the top floor is an illustration of the city of Tulsa.
Also in the penthouse are elements of the original boardroom, which will serve as meeting and event space. Signature detail in that area includes panoramic views, 25-foot wooden doors, chandeliers, a wood-beamed ceiling and elongated copper fireplace.
“We’re trying to make people realize how much great architecture and history we have in Tulsa,” Chatterjee said of the restoration project.