Calling it an economic spark for downtown, Springfield developers and officials expressed excitement during groundbreaking festivities for Hotel Vandivort. KSMU’s Scott Harvey has more on the plans for this historic structure, which is scheduled to open in mid-2014.
When complete, this independent boutique hotel at 305 East Walnut Street will offer 50 guest rooms, including multiple suite options; a large “social lobby” with library, fireplace, restaurant/bar; and meeting and event space including a grand ballroom; business center; and a fitness center. Not bad for a 107 year old structure that has seen many occupants throughout its history.
This property once served as a Masonic Temple. By next summer, it’s expected to be the newest face to Springfield’s revitalized downtown district. John McQueary is one of the owners.
“We really believe that our guests are gonna be seeking a true local experience when they come down here. And we’re gonna provide that to them by providing some great local products, some great service, and just a fantastic social atmosphere. And that’s what we’re after,” McQueary said.
McQueary, his wife Karen, along with his brother Billy, have been working on this project for the last two years.
Touting long-time and recent additions to downtown, Rusty Worley with the Urban District Alliance ran down a list of offerings available to future guests of Hotel Vandivort, including 36 restaurants, 23 pubs and clubs, 20 retail shops, 16 movie screens and five live theatre venues.
“It will attract a new clientele to downtown. A portion of that spending will be reinvested through the Community Improvement District and the core services that they provide. Ultimately we anticipate that this project will encourage future downtown development,” Worley said.
Worley added that the revitalization of center city is due to leaders like the McQuearys, who are willing to invest in the city’s historic places and reinvent for future generations to enjoy.
John Sellars is the executive director of the Springfield History Museum, located downtown. While he’s saddened by other historic elements that have been lost over the years, the effort to reinvent a century-old building in the Vandivort is truly special.
“Once they’re gone, they’re gone. And it’s incumbent on us if we can preserve, at least the exteriors of them, just for the general atmosphere of downtown, I think it’ll be beneficial in the long-term,” Sellars said.
Hotel Vandivort is also expected to provide between 50-75 full and part-time jobs upon its opening next summer.