Local Brothers Renovating 107 Year Old Masonic Temple into Boutique Hotel

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Local brothers Billy & John McQueary expect their renovation of the century old Masonic Temple into an independent boutique hotel will provide an urban social atmosphere in Springfield, MO. With a passion for their downtown, they intend for Hotel Vandivort to be an economic spark for further redevelopment.

Our vision is for Hotel Vandivort to be a catalyst to draw people downtown by creating a hotel with an authentic sense of place.

After extensive demolition at the Vandivort building, owners Billy and John McQueary are launching the renovation and construction phase that will ready the historic, circa-1906 building in downtown Springfield, Missouri to become a boutique hotel set to open in mid-2014. This will be the first boutique hotel in the downtown and the local brothers intend for it to be a real economic spark for the ongoing redevelopment of center city.

Most recently the building was used for office and performance space, but it began life as a Masonic Temple. Acknowledging this history, the hotel will feature subtle masonic references including a plumb bob shape forming the “V” of the hotel’s logo. When renovation and a new addition to the rear of the building are complete, Hotel Vandivort will have 50 guest rooms, including 14 suites. Marrying historic elements with a sleek design aesthetic, the hotel will feature a large “social lobby” with library, fireplace, and restaurant/bar; meeting and event space including a grand ballroom; business center; and a fitness center. The owners are planning for LEED certification at the Silver level.

Nearly as interesting as the history of the building is the background of the McQueary brothers. Software developers by trade and with a family history in the city that goes back generations, the brothers were inspired by the redevelopment occurring in downtown Springfield and wanted to contribute. They arrived at the idea of a boutique hotel, believing it was a missing piece.

“Our vision is for Hotel Vandivort to be a catalyst to draw people downtown by creating a hotel with an authentic sense of place,” said John McQueary. “We’re in the center of the cultural and arts community and we look at the entire downtown as our amenity package.”

Karen McQueary, John McQueary’s wife, was brought on board to help guide the design and atmosphere of the property. She said it was the building’s rich history and “beautiful bones” that drew them to the Vandivort. When the renovation and addition are complete, “the character of the hotel will be one of historic/vintage meets modern/swank.” While embracing modern design, the renovations will also adhere to preservation guidelines as the building is on the National Register of Historic Places.

“We expect to draw young professionals, business travelers, well-traveled baby boomers, and even families with young children,” said Billy McQueary. The McQuearys are planning to have specific packages and itineraries to appeal to each of those segments, with a focus on encouraging guests to explore downtown. “One of the main reasons to stay at Hotel Vandivort will be all the dining and entertainment options within walking distance,” added Billy McQueary. “People want an experience, not just a place to sleep.”

They also have plans to source locally for the restaurant and bar, and to feature the work of area artists. “We’ll be creating a unique local experience so our guests leave with an authentic sense of Springfield’s culture,” said John McQueary.

For more than just overnight stays, the owners seek to create a social atmosphere serving not only the hotel guests but the wider community. The welcoming lobby design calls for an open floor plan with a gathering spot around the fireplace, a library with communal tables for plugging in laptops, and a corner bar/restaurant with its own identity.

The owners also expect brisk wedding, conference and special event business, given there are three event spaces including the grand ballroom on the fourth floor with stunning views of the downtown. All event spaces will be supported by full in-house catering.

While this is the first hotel development for the McQuearys, they see that as a positive. ”We’re coming into this with a consumer point of view, not an industry point of view,” said John McQueary. “Because we’re not locked in to what’s been done at other hotels it allows us to be more creative.”

The McQuearys have assembled a experienced development team, including local architecture firm Bates & Associates; hospitality interior design firm Studio R Interiors based in Louisville, Colo.; construction company Larry Snyder & Company in nearby Ozark, Mo.; hotel consulting firm IDM Group, headquartered in Madison, Wis.; and hometown brand development firm Marlin Co.

The demolition process has already revealed the unique historic structure of the building. When drop ceilings were removed, for example, the full length of the beautiful windows came into view, a sure sign the grandeur of the architecture was still intact. The exterior of this brick building will be preserved to let its historic character shine.

The owners expect to employ upwards of 70 full- and part-time employees and intend to hire locally.

The opening of Hotel Vandivort is planned for mid-2014. For updates on the renovation and construction, log on to http://www.HotelVandivort.com or find them on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/HotelVandivort.

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