Business Q & A

Five questions with Dennis Vollink, president, Drury Southwest

1. What is the business opportunity that Drury sees in the Broadview?

“We see a long-term successful downtown hotel expanding the market opportunities for the Drury hotel chain, but also a first-class, high-end hotel for the downtown market and the Wichita market.

“We also see a successful investment for Drury that becomes an integral part of the downtown Wichita scene.”

2. What is Drury’s background in historic hotel renovation?

“We’ve done a good number of historic renovations, and they’re very different projects ...

“We’re well suited to doing difficult projects with a barrier to entry to other companies who lack that experience.

“In fact, the difficult project for us is more economical because we have the in-house expertise to handle it.

“These kinds of projects are different from building a new building from scratch on a clean piece of land, because you’re starting with a myriad of federal and state agencies and coordinating with the city council to proceed on a historic building ...

“The other thing is fitting a new modern building engineering-wise into an existing structure with modern rooms, heating, air and data.”

3. What’s Drury’s view of Wichita’s downtown revitalization?

“One of the main factors encouraging us was the downtown revitalization. There isn’t a market that isn’t difficult. It will be difficult in Wichita, and you’ll need a quality product to compete for business, but we’re very encouraged by the commitment of the mayor, the downtown development group and the chamber to bring more activity to downtown Wichita.

“Downtown Wichita has to grow for us to be successful, so we’re putting our confidence in the city and the people to do that.”

4. Talk about the feel you want to create in the revitalized Broadview, the combination of historic and modern.

“We’re definitely looking for another 80 years out of that building once we’re done.

“The feel will definitely be a feel of modern rooms ... while maintaining the flavor and the main historic features of the building and lobby closer to what it was back in the 1920s.

“The other side is really turning the building back to the river, making the river an integral part of the development, bringing a more modern feel to the buildings. Instead of the river being back of house, it’s a second front for the house.”

5. How does an engineer end up running a hotel development company?

“This company started as a plastering company and then went into the subs and the construction business. So they have always been more building- and engineeringoriented.

“When the interstates were coming through and the Holiday Inn system started, they got into the original Holiday Inn construction. They were out on the road a lot, and they saw an opportunity to take their expertise and build some buildings and operate them.”

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