Unique Hotel Taking Shape In Holland

July 21, 2007
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The five-story, $10 million boutique hotel going up on the corner of 7th Street and College Avenue in downtown Holland is a first for Charter House Innovations, a local manufacturer of dining environments for the food service industry. But the company anticipates that CityFlats Hotel will be the first in a chain of hotels to come.

The new, upscale hotel is going to be unique in a couple of ways. First, CityFlats will be a LEED-certified hotel, so in both the design and construction, special attention has been given to materials, fabrics, utilities and lighting, according to Charles Reid, president and managing partner of Charter House Innovations.

Director of Development Kirk Koeman said Charter House is shooting for LEED Silver certification. There are only seven LEED-certified hotels in the world, Koeman pointed out, and CityFlats will be the first in the Midwest.

The building is being constructed with very high recycled content for building materials, Koeman noted. The steel in the building, for example, is nearly 100 percent recycled. The building will have a high level of insulation, a high efficiency mechanical system and a water use reduction program. Very large windows in the hotel will take advantage of as much daylight as possible, he said. The project will earn LEED points, too, for being a high-density building in an urban area with easy access to public transportation.

The interior of the hotel will be hypoallergenic, Koeman said. It will feature low-flow faucets and showerheads, dual flush toilets, and lots of recycled content on countertops, flooring and fabrics. All paints and materials used throughout the building will be low in volatile organic compounds.  

There will be no carpet in the hotel. The floors of the guest rooms will be covered with cork, which is a rapidly renewable product, he said, and in other areas, the floors will be made of recycled vinyl. Vanity tops will be made of either concrete with recycled glass or dense pressed paper material.

“The intent of the project is to be LEED-certified and environmentally conscious, but to also be highly hypoallergenic,” Koeman remarked. “Carpets and other materials really trap allergens and bacteria, so getting rid of that stuff makes it a much healthier environment.” 

Additionally, the site will feature water efficient sprinkler heads and plants that are draught tolerant. Koeman said the company is also considering a green roof for the back portion of the building.

A second point of interest is that each of the hotel’s 56 rooms will have its own distinctive look. There will be about 22 different room styles, each with a different color scheme and furniture, Reid said. Charter House staff will do all the interior and furniture designing. In essence, the entire hotel will be a showcase for the talents of Charter House designers. 

“We have 13 designers on staff, plus a couple of graphic designers and industrial designers,” he said. “They’re schooled in a bunch of different interiors — not just restaurants — so in order to maximize all the talent we have on staff and keep our machines running in the factory, we just thought it was a natural progression for us to design the furniture for a hotel and be able to manufacture it here, as well.”

A couple of the suites are 750 square feet and are “exquisite,” Reid said. The average room is about 415 square feet.

There will be a penthouse-style restaurant on the fifth floor, which will include a bar. Another bar and a coffee shop will be situated in the great room of the hotel’s lobby. The hotel will also sport an on-site exercise facility, two conference rooms and a home theater that seats 25. The entire hotel will be wireless.

Reid expects that between the hotel and restaurant, 50 to 60 new jobs will be created. His company will also hire 10 to 15 additional people to form a second shift crew to help with the additional manufacturing work.

CityFlats will serve as the model for the chain of hotels Charter House plans to build, all of which will be LEED-certified. Koeman said the company is looking at two other hotel projects in Michigan. Reid and his partners, Brian Rudesill and Ned O’Brian, are talking with potential developers in Georgia and Nebraska, too.

“We anticipated once we had the hotel open, people would get excited about it, but it has ramped up a lot quicker than we had thought it would. People read about it in the paper and call us,” Reid noted.

Charter House Innovations will run the CityFlats Hotel and maintain ownership of it. The company is setting up a separate hotel holding company that will provide the hotel management expertise for any location in the franchise that wants it.

The CityFlats project is expected to be complete by the end of the year.    CQ

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