Archive for Monday, July 6, 2009

Oread hotel on schedule for debut in February

Hotel on the hill taking shape

You can't help but notice the tall building going up along the Lawrence skyline as The Oread near completion in the coming months.

You can't help but notice the tall building going up along the Lawrence skyline as The Oread near completion in the coming months.

July 6, 2009


Among features lined up for inclusion in The Oread, a hotel and condominium project slated to open early next year at 1200 Oread Ave.:

  • Fifth floor: An outdoor patio and bar, available for rental for special events such as weddings, with room for 300 or more guests.
  • Lobby (main) level: Hotel lobby; a restaurant, to be called 521; and Bird Dog Bar, with outdoor seating that looks out over both 12th and Indiana streets.
  • Lower level (first one below ground): Ballrooms and meeting areas, including a media room with theater seating for 45 people, catering to intercollegiate athletics teams and business groups. Three features a pizza/salad bar, a spa, and a Jimmy John’s sandwich shop; each will have access from both the hotel and from Indiana Street.
  • Lowest level (underground, below the 200 spaces spread among three levels of parking): Dance club with room for about 300 people; adjacent bar area available for rental by businesses or other groups.

The view from up here, some 90 feet above street level, affords Casey Stewart some perspective that few others get a chance to enjoy.

“I’m so used to it now — I see it every day — but it’s still amazing,” said Stewart, a construction superintendent for DFC Co. of Lawrence LC, part of the team building The Oread at the northern edge of Kansas University’s main campus. “You can see such a long way.”

The distant sight lines — well past Sixth Street to the north, into the Wakarusa River valley to the south, De Soto to the east and down onto Mark Mangino’s football practice field to the west — won’t be ultra-exclusive visions for much longer.

Construction of The Oread remains on schedule for completion by Jan. 1, in time for operators to open their 108 hotel rooms, six condominiums, three bars, several banquet facilities, meeting rooms, retail shops and other amenities in late winter.

It’s a tall order: 113 feet, to be exact, from 12th Street to the “upper observation level,” a 900-square-foot stone deck at what is the building’s 10th floor above ground.

Including the five levels below ground — one for banquet, fitness, retail, meeting and office areas, then three more for parking and a fifth for laundry and a subterranean dance club — and it adds up to a $32 million investment.

“It will be an attraction for Lawrence,” said Nancy Longhurst, general manager for The Oread and two associated properties, The Eldridge and The Eldridge Extended, in downtown Lawrence. “We have a wonderful opportunity to showcase both the university and Lawrence.”

The project won approval at City Hall based upon a plan that limited the building height, both in terms of its actual height and its effective appearance. The building itself cannot rise beyond 114 feet above the floor at the lobby entrance; the rooftop of the seventh floor cannot surpass 105 feet.

Above that, the “floors” — a level of condos with a few outdoor terraces, plus an observation deck above and then a final, smaller deck on top — are arrayed like building blocks, gradually working inward like a pyramid to lessen their visual impact amid The Oread’s surroundings.

“It diminishes the bulk and the presence of the overall structure,” said Sandy Day, a city-county planner who analyzed the project for the Lawrence-Douglas County Planning Commission and Lawrence City Commission.

While people may have envisioned the project as reaching only seven floors above ground, she said, levels eight, nine and 10 all were approved as part of the project’s plans.

“It wasn’t limited to the number of stories,” Day said. “It was limited to an overall dimension.”

Stewart, for his part, reports to the construction site each day welcoming the project’s challenges, including:

• Materials stored in east Lawrence, because the lot has little room for anything other than equipment and a construction trailer.

• A concrete pump that can’t reach the far end of the building, requiring workers to climb scaffolding before pouring concrete into support columns, one 5-gallon bucket at a time.

• A certain acceptance of familiarity, whereby once-extraordinary sights morph into merely pedestrian images that end up being taken for granted.

“You can look down on the hawks flying around,” Stewart said, shrugging his shoulders as an especially broad wingspan executed a smooth glide past the seventh floor. “It’s just neat.”

By February, such views will be available for visitors, guests, residents and owners of The Oread to see on a regular basis, too.


Boston_Corbett 8 years, 9 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

Paul Geisler 8 years, 9 months ago

Sounds like this will be a great place for the rich folks in Larrytown to hang out! Well, at least for those willing to navigate their way around all the campus traffic! What a joke!

I wonder how quickly they can clear out 300 people from an underground dance club in the event of an emergency. Whose brilliant idea was that?

flyin_squirrel 8 years, 9 months ago

This dance club will open right on time. I figure it should take the city about 6 more months to shut down Club 821 and then all it's patrons can move to the Oread Inn. At least now when they fire their guns in the underground parking garage the bullets will bounce around nicely...

Bursting 8 years, 9 months ago

Sounds like a fun, good, convenient, and nice place!!! and flyin_squirrel is a wwwweeeeerdo and so is Magnus.....

tcs 8 years, 9 months ago

So will the 3 bars only be allowed to serve beer?

flyin_squirrel 8 years, 9 months ago

tcs- Bars will be serving Liquor and Beer til 2 am. Should be lots of fun for the neighborhood...

VTHawk 8 years, 9 months ago

I am excited. Hopefully more attractive buildings will go up downtown/around campus on the East, rather than letting all development happen out West. The new hotel looks great, and I can't wait.

JayCat_67 8 years, 9 months ago

"Bars will be serving Liquor and Beer til 2 am. Should be lots of fun for the neighborhood…"

The Crossing used to be there. Whether it's hard liquor or beer, alcohol is alcohol. Plus there's still two frats up the street providing their own forms of drunken entertainment. The only difference is there will be more places to park in the underground parking garage. Just station a couple of police officers at the exits watch the city coffers fill with DUI dollars.

woodenfleaeater 8 years, 9 months ago

Only a matter of time before a drunken college student takes flight from the roof of the building.

Danimal 8 years, 9 months ago

This hotel was a stupid idea when they pitched it and a stupid idea it remains. I don't think that anyone appreciates how much congestion this is going to bring to an area already choked with traffic.

Kirk Larson 8 years, 9 months ago

I thought this was a bad idea. It will be an eyesore, a brazen middle finger pointing to the sky.

maxcrabb 8 years, 9 months ago

icedoverhillon14th- Say what you want about Kansas and the drunken bar patrons, but don't characterize my fellow townies as trailer park living crooks.

jumpin_catfish 8 years, 9 months ago

Rich people spending money anywhere in Lawrence is a good thing.

Hope and change for all you old Lawrence townie whiners.

Fort_Aubrey 8 years, 9 months ago

I wonder how much median wages would go up if architects were required to a have a degree in architecture.

classclown 8 years, 9 months ago

Frankly we need more tall buildings like that. All along that area. Then they can hide the blight that's behind them.

bearded_gnome 8 years, 9 months ago

well I see ol' bronzie is up to his usual obsessive posting again. what's the mind altering substance today Bronzie?

you've been thrown off this board seven times. under the letter to the editor you linked, you were Cool, and posted a massive amount of comments, all whiped clean now.

why in the world do you actually oppose this? it isn't in your neighborhood/domain like your hated LHS fields. you thought that vandalism flooding of the Oread Inn site was quite a laughing matter even though some of that resulted in injuries to workers.

I do wonder about the choice of the deep underground danceclub/nuclear attack bunker. maybe that's why they built it, it can be the tornado shelter for all of the rest of the building?

okay, this article fails to include the Zeppalin mooring mast on the top and the 900MHz cell phone tower that will broadcast thoughts into Bronzie's mind.

bearded_gnome 8 years, 9 months ago

what's the matter Bronzie?

aweful quiet now.

notjustastudent 8 years, 9 months ago

If anyone has looked at the site or been by the site ever in their lives, they'll realize that the "ground" floor is only named so because the main entrance faces south towards campus. If you go to the west side and travel north, there is a downhill slope thing going on, meaning some of the underground levels will be above ground there. No trampling people to get upstairs. It's a pretty neat thing, building stuff in hills.

As far as people like icedover are concerned- get the hell out of Lawrence if you hate it so much. Seriously. No one wants you here.

KU_Dude 8 years, 9 months ago

jkealing (Jonathan Kealing) says…


I've warned you privately, now I'll warn you publicly. You do not have bearded_gnome's name correct. If you don't immediately cease to attempt to out an anonymous user, your account will be banned. In addition, I will immediately ban any account I suspect to be created by you without notice, warning or further cause. This is your final warning.

Jonathan Kealing Online editor

Flap Doodle 8 years, 9 months ago

Relax and have a popsicle, bronze. It's a cool and fruity treat on a summer day.

bearded_gnome 8 years, 4 months ago

hey! 2bfrank, put some dried oregano on it, it won't taste so bad!

my gawd, what's bronze/cool/spiderman/ariadne/jaguar/rusty2 et al et al up to now, thrown off over ten times now?

Jonathan Kealing, will it take him trying to out me again to get his arse TOSsed off?

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