The Hotel Vandivort in Springfield’s sprawling downtown opened its doors to guests Monday. This is one of many historic buildings getting a second chance as part of center city’s revitalization. KSMU’s Theresa Bettmann takes us on a tour of the renewed structure, a project that owners refer to as a “labor of love.”
The finishing touches are still being put into place as staff and guests of this boutique hotel move throughout the lobby. Movers enter the elevator carrying furniture that will occupy one of the building’s 50 guest rooms. Just to the left of the entrance sits a spacious restaurant-bar called the Order, designed to draw in both hotel patrons as well as downtown visitors. Passers-by have also stopped in to observe the artwork depicting abstract paintings, local photography and historic artifacts.
John and Billy McQueary are co-owners of the Hotel Vandivort, along with John’s wife, Karen. John McQueary shares that this two and a half year project has had many twists and turns, but that seeing it all come together has been rewarding.
“I expected my favorite thing was going to be just seeing all of the physical finishes when it was all done, and that was big part of it. But when we brought our staff on board and opened the doors and saw the public interact with the space—and seen some wild looks on people’s faces—that was a big win for us,” says John.
When the brothers began looking for places to begin their project, the Vandivort actually was not their first choice.
“We were originally looking over in the Walnut and Campbell area but this had the parking along with it and we loved the history of the building too. It was a building that needed a lot of love at the time, so it just seemed like a fit,” John says.
Constructed as a Masonic Temple in 1906, Billy McQueary says he and his brother were drawn to the building’s historic roots.
“Definitely the Masonic history that’s a really a neat piece of the building, because it’s a part of American history but also because this building has been here so long. We have had so many people come through the building, or even talk to us about when they were a Mason here and talk to us about the building and when they were here. It’s neat to make sure that this building is going to last hopefully another hundred years,” Billy shares.
The brothers say the project, which began in 2013, cost around $13 million to complete. And it would not have been possible, they say, without the federal and state tax credits available for historic renovation. Throughout the construction, the McQuearys say new challenges arose regularly, which added time and money to the project.
“The nature of doing a very complicated project in a historic building is different than just building lofts. Everything has such tight tolerances and we’re trying to use every square inch that we can. There’s more regulation with it. That presented many challenges that required more planning time and reacting in the field too,” John says.
While many things are modern and new, says John McQueary, preservation was a key piece of the project. The front face of the building remained the same with adjustments for ADA compliance. The ballroom upstairs which can entertain up to 200 guests has also been restored close to its original state.
“In a lot of ways the building is probably truer to its original nature now than before because we’ve raised the ceilings up and exposed the windows. It just has a better feel I think,” explains John.
Among the hotel’s 50 rooms there are 12 suites and two premier suites varying in amenities and options. According to its website, rooms at the Hotel Vandivrot range from $179 to $309 a night depending upon the type of rooms and package options. The hotel also offers many modern amenities such as a workout room, high-tech meeting rooms, and is on track to receive a LEED Gold certification for environmentally conscious restoration.