Broadview: Old and new

It'll be business as usual at the Broadview Hotel, but not for at least another 10 months. The historic Wichita hotel will close Saturday for a $22.4 million renovation that will restore the classic 1922 facility while modernizing its amenities.

From the return of the old marquee atop the hotel to the preservation of the hotel's key features, like the Blackbear Bosin murals in the ballroom, there will be plenty of the old, said Dennis Vollink, president of Drury Southwest, which owns the hotel.

But the accommodations will be modern, as the hotel's capacity shrinks from 231 to 200 redecorated and re-equipped rooms.

Vollink and Scott Ragatz, the hotel's general manager, said they're eager for work to begin Monday, as Drury seeks to capitalize on the momentum generated by downtown revitalization.

"We've done a number of historical renovations in the past, and we saw the opportunities in Wichita with the downtown area and the river and the possibilities," Vollink said.

"Since we've got the experience, the staff and crew to do these projects, we have the ability to get this facility on the historical registers. We knew we could do something with this, bring it back after being mismanaged for several years."

Given the building's historic designations, there won't be a lot of radical changes, Vollink and Ragatz said.

But among the new amenities:

* Several suites will be added, and several small queen-size rooms will be combined, accounting for the reduction in the number of rooms.

* The front of the building where customers will enter and check in will face the river, although the facade along Douglas and Waco will remain the same.

* The exterior will be landscaped, with an amphitheater and public access.

* The parking garage just east of the hotel across Waco will be connected to the hotel by a skywalk, and elevators will be installed near the skywalk entrances.

"In the past, you'd have to drag your luggage across the street and go all the way down to the only service elevator," Ragatz said. "It will be huge."

* The mezzanine level will be converted to a large breakfast area that overlooks the lobby.

"With Drury, the famous tagline is 'The Extras Aren't Extra,' " Ragatz said. "Part of that is our free, hot, complimentary breakfast and full buffet. And at night, we have our '5:30 Kickback,' where we have hors d'oeuvres and complimentary cocktails."

* The restaurant and current kitchen will be moved to the current exhibition hall space, along with a catering operation for the ballrooms, with the current space converted into the front of the building and check-in area.

* An enclosed pool and hot tub overlooking the river will be added.

"I've seen a couple of other developers come and go in the four years I've been here, with different ideas," Ragatz said. "They were very basic compared to the grand design that's been chosen here."

Although the hotel is closing, the Broadview will retain office space in the R.H. Garvey Building at 300 W. Douglas, with the hotel's current phone number.

The total project cost, including the hotel's acquisition by Drury two years ago, is $28 million.

"When people come in, they'll recognize the Broadview," Vollink said. "Many of the historical features of the building are going to be restored....

"People will get first-class hotel accommodations that meet the needs of downtown and Go Wichita, our tourism board, as they sell our city," Ragatz said.