As general manager at the new Ambassador Hotel in Midtown, Jeff Erwin is staying confident all is set for a “soft opening” next week.
People are still applying for jobs and not every position has been filled. The former Osler Building, 1200 N Walker Ave., is still a construction zone, seemingly weeks away from being ready to open. But Erwin has assurances it will all come together for one very special addition to Midtown.
“It’s an exciting, exciting week,” Erwin said. “It’s stressful here at the last minute, with every trade possible here finishing up last details of each part of the job. We have carpets and wood floors down. We have construction workers in and out, and furniture boxes coming in. It’s all a last-minute flurry to get the building finished.”
The hotel will the fourth addition to Tulsa developer Paul Coury’s “Ambassador Collection,” which includes the first location in Tulsa, with properties in Wichita, Kan., and Kansas City. All four hotels involved renovations of historic buildings into small boutique hotels.
The Osler Building may look like it was always designed to be either a hotel or residential building. The Osler, however, was built in 1929 as offices for doctors at nearby St. Anthony and Mercy hospitals. It stood empty after it was acquired in 2006 by Midtown Renaissance Group, which targeted it for conversion to housing.
That plan was dropped when the original developer, Greg Banta, parted with Midtown. Soon afterward, Coury, who opened his first Ambassador Hotel in Tulsa in 1999, began looking at the Osler as part of his plan to create a chain of boutique hotels.
Construction began in April, with the development totaling $15 million.
With relatively small floor plates in the seven-story, U-shaped Art Deco building, the former Osler Building is ideal for conversion into a boutique, 54-room hotel, Erwin said.
“It’s a much more intimate feeling, a smaller lobby, and an opportunity to really get to know our guests better than you can in a hotel with a huge number of rooms,” said Erwin, who previously managed downtown’s Colcord Hotel and the Marriott Waterford Hotel in northwest Oklahoma City.