The Mann Report | February 2020 | Architecture Engineering Construction
February 7, 2020
R.D. Olson Construction President Bill Wilhelm Provides 2020 Insight for the Hotel Business Green Book.
January 2, 2020
September 16, 2019
R.D. Olson Construction rated among ENR California’s Top Contractors of 2019
July 24, 2019
R.D. Olson Construction is excited to be rated among ENR California's Top Contractors of 2019!!
Our impressive resume of hospitality, multi-unit, senior living and higher education construction projects matched with our dedicated employees and consistently delivering quality projects that exceed customer expectations keep moving us forward as a leader in the industry.
R.D. Olson Construction Wins Orange County Business Journal’s Best Places to Work for the 4th Year in a Row
July 1, 2019
We are a fun, passionate, hard-working group and proud to be among the best companies in the county!!
R.D. Olson Construction ranks among the best in the country on the ENR Top 400 Contractors List again
May 22, 2019
May 2019 – Engineering News Record – Irvine, CA - For several consecutive years, R.D. Olson Construction has continued to be among the Top Contracting firms in the nation, making the distinguished ENR Top 400 List of Contractors again for 2019. Top awarded projects include the Dual Brand Residence Inn and Courtyard Marriott Hotel in Marina del Rey, AC Hotel by Marriott El Segundo, Chapman University's West Residential Village Student Housing in Orange, Kings 838 Apartment Homes in West Hollywood, and The Curve at West Angeles Senior Apartments in Los Angeles, among others in the hospitality, multi-unit, higher education and senior living sectors. R.D. Olson Construction's ongoing success is attributed to the company's dedication to attracting the best talent in the industry, strong customer loyalty, and quality projects built on time that exceed customer expectations. View the full ENR Top 400 list here.
Three Questions With … Bill Wilhelm
May 10, 2019
By Janis L. Magin | Pacific Business News
R.D. Olson Construction has completed more than a dozen hotel and retail projects in Hawaii in the 25 years President Bill Wilhelm has been with the company, the latest a new hotel on Maui— Hawaii’s first AC Marriott.
The new hotel is located next door to another R.D. Olson project in Wailea, the Residence Inn by Marriott, Wailea, which was completed in fall 2016. R.D. Olson also built the Courtyard by Marriott Maui Kahului Airport and completed the renovation in 2010 of the former Yacht Harbor Tower in Waikiki into the Waikiki Edition, which then became The Modern Honolulu.
Wilhelm, who was named president in 2014, recently told Pacific Business News that the California-based company’s focus is project specific, and said its success building in the Islands comes down to relationships and managing logistics.
“It’s all about managing resources and where do you place them at a point in time,” Wilhelm recently told Pacific Business News. “Over the many years of having relationships with a subcontractor community that just adds to our overall success.”
R.D. Olson Construction is an affiliate of R.D. Olson Development, developer on the Maui hotel projects, including the AC Marriott, which was designed by AHL, formerly known as Architects Hawaii Ltd. The companies are currently working on plans for yet another Maui hotel project —this one on five acres it plans to purchase from Alexander & Baldwin down the street from the airport hotel.
How is building in Hawaii compared to the Mainland?
We are fortunate we have been present in Hawaii for quite a few years. Whether it’s Hawaii or building over on Catalina Island … it’s creating partnerships with our local subcontractor communities. Understanding site logistics, shipping materials to Hawaii, you have to be on your “A” game when it comes to coordination. Today it’s not just the materials – but the manpower resources [too].
What’s the biggest challenge with working in Hawaii?
I guess the challenge is that there is a greater appreciation for quality. The mentality is a little more cautious on what we produce, which is impressive, whereas in other parts of the country, which I see more and more of, is everybody’s trying to generate production and move on. I’d be lying if I didn’t say getting labor and materials isn’t tough.
Do you do design-build projects?
Yes. Because we have that kind of engagement with our sister company and other clients. We’re asked quite often ‘what architect would you bring in?’ It’s an expanded version of design assist – we’re kind of driving the boat.
At The Forefront
April 26, 2019
R.D. Olson Celebrates its 40th Anniversary and Ushers in a New Era
By Kat Zeman | Construction Today Magazine
Q&A – The Art of Being a CFO
January 14, 2019
By Peter J. Brennan | Orange County Business Journal
Interview with Erika Urbani, VP of Finance, CFO at R.D. Olson Construction
The role of a CFO has evolved significantly, due in part to new technologies, regulations and industry advances. As CFO, my focus is not solely on revenue growth but organic growth. This means a shift in responsibilities from financial reporting, forecasting and budgeting, to leading the company in more strategic ways that ensure the overall success of the business.
Successful CFOs are ‘strategists’ – and our role has expanded to focus on:
Clear the Path. CFOs go beyond keeping operations flowing by ensuring appropriate resource allocation, availability of productivity tools and compliance. This often requires us to revisit company policies and find creative solutions to expedite work. We identify ways to optimize the business – to eliminate a step, a piece of paper, or a signature.
Think Big. Despite day-to-day issues that require our time and attention, supporting organic growth requires us to become strategic partners. Each month I meet with our president to discuss our pipeline of construction projects and we ask ourselves and our teams, “What are our barriers to success and peace of mind?” Once we identify these pain points, we find calculated solutions. For RDOC, the result has been financial stability and strategic growth.
Mentors and Succession. I'm often asked the best path to CFO. The truth is you don’t learn the intricacies of being an accomplished CFO in school. While the strongest CFOs earn multiple degrees, it’s the years of hard-earned and hands-on experience that qualifies them to make gut-based decisions and be successful leaders. Leadership tends to be an overlooked skill, but for a CFO it’s more important than the transactional know-how, because it’s what you don’t see in the data that can bite you. It’s up to us to mentor our up-and-coming CFOs on how to be efficient leaders. Those that master the art of mentorship are not only rewarded with strong teams but hope for the future of their industry and confidence in passing the baton.
Double Shot of Hotel Development
November 12, 2018
Dual-Branded Model Makes Local Inroads
By Mark Mueller | Orange County Business Journal
Hotel developers in and around Orange County are seeing double.
Area hotel construction—already in overdrive, especially in the Anaheim resort area— has been accelerating around dual-brand hotel projects, those featuring two hotel properties within the same brand company, such as Hilton or Marriott, at the same site. On some projects, the two hotels are connected, while others put them next to each other on the same grounds. The trend is national, according to a recent report by Los Angeles based hotel consulting group HVS. “Just as the early 2000s realized the proliferation of the boutique hotel concept, the second decade of the new millennium will arguably be known for the growth of the dual-brand hotel concept,” the August report said.
It’s “one of the top three topics” in the industry, said Bill Wilhelm, president of Irvine-based R.D. Olson Construction. The other two hot topics, according to Wilhelm, are figuring out the stage of recovery the hospitality industry is in, and how it can better attract employees in a time of high employment. “In the last four to five years, in the hospitality industry, this has really taken off,” he said of the dual-branding model.
Anaheim, Orange Wilhelm’s construction firm is plenty familiar with the dual-brand phenomenon. In Anaheim, it’s working with locally based developer Nara Investments to build a 125-room Hilton Garden Inn, which will be connected to a 98-room Hilton Home 2 Suites. Ground recently broke on the six-story property immediately west of the Santa Ana (5) Freeway on Manchester Avenue. It’s being built on the former site of a 108-room Quality Inn that was demolished to make way for the new project. The developers also own a nearby Holiday Inn Express. The site, about half a mile from the entrance to Disneyland, will feature a “unique Kids Splash Pad water park,” according to marketing materials for the project, which was designed by BRR Architecture and Studio 11 Design.
About two miles away in Orange, Wilhelm’s firm is working with DCSG Development of Pasadena on a dual-brand project just east of the 5 Freeway on West Chapman Avenue and along the Santa Ana River. The project will feature a 194-room Courtyard by Marriott hotel and a 112-room Residence Inn at the same site, which was previously home to a Motel 6. Construction is due to kick off in about two months. It was designed by Architects Orange and Level 3 Design Group.
Costs, Synergies Developers like the dual-brand concept largely for cost and efficiency savings. “If you put can put two [hotels] on the same property, it can reduce operational costs and back-house costs,” Wilhelm said. That typically means one set of meeting rooms, one swimming pool, and one main kitchen. It also typically means one set of entitlements. From a marketing perspective, the concept can be a good loyalty builder, introducing visitors at one brand to another type of brand they might not have been familiar with. The concept also mitigates some demand risk. “If you’re a developer, maybe a 300-key property [of the same type] doesn’t make sense,” Wilhelm said. But a mix and match of a boutique brand; select-service; limited-service; or extended-stay property could be justified if each has 100 to 150 rooms, he said.
The biggest project risk is “figuring out which [product type] works together and what doesn’t.” Wilhelm said. You “are still building for two different types of customers.”
Tustin Model R.D. Olson Development, the Newport Beach-based development arm of Wilhelm’s construction company, took on its first local dual-brand project when it opened Tustin Pacific Center in 2013, a two-hotel project next to the Costa Mesa (55) Freeway targeting business travelers. The project features a 145-room Fairfield Inn & Suites and a 149-room Residence Inn, both by Marriott. The hotels, which R.D. Olson Development sold in 2015 as part of a $103 million portfolio sale, are on separate sides of the roughly 7.5-acre site. Today, integration is more likely than two stand-alone projects.
“You’re seeing different [models],” said Wilhelm, whose firm is building a dual Marriott-branded project along the water in Marina Del Rey in Los Angeles County, and opened a 290-room H Hotel a year ago near Los Angeles International Airport that features a Curio by Hilton and a Homewood Suites. Nowadays, you might even see a property that swaps hotel type on alternating floors, or two flags on the same floor, Wilhelm said.
Olive Crest Residential Home Kitchen Renovation
September 14, 2018 – Residential Contractor Magazine - September 2018
R.D. Olson Construction, an award-winning general contracting firm in Irvine, Calif., partnered up with TCA Architects and local subcontractors to renovate nonprofit Olive Crest’s short-term residential therapeutic home in Santa Ana. “Demo day” occurred Saturday, Sept. 1 at 8 a.m.and kicked off the renovation of the 1954 home’s kitchen and living areas. Improvements will include new flooring, appliances, water heater, AC and other amenities to provide a more comfortable environment for the six young women living in the house. Founded in 1973, Olive Crest provides safe, residential facilities to house Orange County youth. R.D. Olson Construction and TCA Architects are donating their time on the project, and most materials and labor are being sponsored through the subcontractor and material supplier community.
R.D. Olson’s relationship with Olive Crest began more than 15 years ago when it took the lead in building a multi-purpose facility for families in Riverside. It has continued to provide support to this deserving nonprofit each year through holiday donations, back-to-school drives and the donation of amenities and supplies for residents to help the nonprofit further its important mission of preventing child abuse, treating and educating at-risk children and preserving families.
R.D. Olson Construction Named Civic 50 Orange County Honoree for the 2nd Year in a Row
September 10, 2018
R.D. Olson Construction Makes Moves on the Top 400 Contractors List
May 29, 2018 – Engineering News Record - May 2018
Inside Irvine’s First Full Service Hotel in a Decade
April 13, 2018 – Globe St. - by Kelsi Maree Borland
Building Relationships and Communities
April 11, 2018 – Affordable Housing News - Spring 2018
Olson Construction Seeks Boost in Multiunit Projects
April 9, 2018 – Orange County Business Journal - by Paul Hughes
Is El Segundo L.A.’s Newest Hot Hotel Market?
March 12, 2018 – Globe St. - Kelsi Marie Borland
Adaptive Reuse: A Growing Trend in High-Density Markets
February 6, 2018 – Hotel Online, written by Bill Wilhelm
4 Ways to Ensure Safety on the Jobsite
February 5, 2018 – Construction Dive, written by Bill Wilhelm
Plan aheadLong before a job starts, extensive planning should be done to identify which tasks will be taking place onsite and how best to plan for potential safety hazards. Project managers and field representatives should put preventative measures in place and communicate them to workers, and provide the appropriate tools and equipment. Zoning, which involves blocking off areas where certain tasks are taking place, installing catch platforms, nets and other safety measures, is an important part of this planning phase. By allowing only those working on a task within the zoned area past the barrier, it helps to prevent bystander injury. This methodical process also helps ensure that workers within the zoned area have the right protective equipment and tools for that specific job. One-third of all construction fatalities are a result of falls — from buildings, structural elements and ladders — making them one of the most critical safety issues for which to plan. Appropriate scaffolding needs to be installed, holes in the structure need to be cordoned off or otherwise managed, and other potential fall hazards should be planned for before construction begins. Transportation incidents are the second most common issue, with vehicle contact/collision accounting for 29% of fatalities.
Manage the riskLess obvious factors proven to cause safety issues should always be considered when developing and implementing a safety plan. According to a study commissioned by the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC), most deaths on construction sites occur between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m., with fatalities peaking around noon. Almost 75% of fatalities happen on Mondays through Thursdays, with industrial projects reporting more incidents than residential, commercial and other project types. What does this mean for you? Consider scheduling safety meetings around noon during the beginning of the week, and make sure there is a strong protocol for safety during lunch breaks. If you are working on an industrial site, encourage frequent safety meetings and perhaps more stringent safety protocol that accounts for the dangers unique to industrial building. The AGC report also shows that small construction companies with one to nine employees account for a much higher fatality rate (26 per 100,000 workers annually) than larger firms. If you are at a smaller company, don’t make safety planning any less of a priority. There is also a strong correlation between fatalities and the summer months, and deaths are also more common in the South than other areas of the country. This may be due to heat-related illness and exhaustion. Make sure workers have adequate access to water, encourage them to take regular breaks and train them to monitor for heat-related issues.
Scheduling and staffingAnother overlooked but pressing safety issue is worker exhaustion. The industry-wide talent shortage can make it difficult to appropriately staff jobsites, leading some companies to over-schedule workers in order to meet demanding construction schedules. But no matter how many preventative measures and education programs you put in place, it’s all for nothing if workers are too physically or mentally worn out to follow protocol. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) reports that accidents and injury rates are 30% greater during night shifts, and working 12 hours per day comes with a 37% increased risk of injury. Safety isn’t just a concern on jobsites, though. Decreased alertness resulting from fatigue has been cited as a contributing factor in major workplace disasters, such as BP's Deepwater Horizon oil refinery explosion, the Challenger space shuttle explosion and the nuclear accidents at Chernobyl and Three Mile Island. Don’t put your construction site at risk for disaster just to shave a few days or weeks off the construction schedule. Extended shifts can be correlated with an increased risk of having a car accident on the way home from work by 16.2%. They can also lead to a higher probability of developing health problems due to prolonged exposure to chemical and noise hazards. Companies can help prevent worker exhaustion, and improve retention, by limiting extended shifts, ensuring employees and subcontractors aren’t working too many hours and taking possible talent shortages into account when creating the project schedule.
Safety as a cultureFor a safety program to be successful, safety needs to be integral to a company’s culture. Education is one way to instill this. OSHA’s 30-hour Construction Training Course is one example of a valuable program that ensures every worker has the same comprehensive knowledge that can be built upon during company trainings. While the OSHA program is geared toward safety directors, foremen and field supervisors, it is ideal if everyone in the company goes through the training to make sure the takeaways are spread across every level of the organization. Trainings shouldn’t be relegated only to management and employees. It’s best if subcontractors and other partners also receive trainings, ensuring their safety standards are in line with a GC's own. Regular safety events, onsite and off, that teach workers about the latest regulations and give refreshers about existing ones are also critical to promoting a culture of safety. They can range from brief onsite recaps to fun team-building exercises. Regardless of the format, they typically should be done at least weekly to make safety part of workers' daily mindsets. Planning, risk management, staffing and education are all important components of keeping job sites safe. As an industry, we owe it to our workers to prioritize safety and give them all the tools necessary to prevent incidents before they occur.
Scoring Newport Beach Bingo
January 19, 2018 – The Real Deal - Kavita Daswani
National general contracting and construction management firm R.D. Olson Construction, based in Irvine, is building the luxury Lido House Hotel in Newport Beach. The hotel, on the site of the former City Hall, is part of Marriott International’s Autograph brand.
Slated to open in the spring of 2018, the 103,000-square-foot, four-story, 130-room hotel is located close to the Lido Marina Village, a shopping and entertainment center, which itself underwent a renovation last year. Developed by DJM Capital Partners, the 116,000-square-foot retail, dining and creative office project now houses trendy eateries such as Nobu and fashion brands such as Elyse Walker and Warby Parker in addition to a 47-slip marina. "
Adaptive Re-Use Emerges as Hotel Sector’s Hedge Against Risk
January 12, 2018 – Connect Media
The Most Anticipated Hotel Openings of 2018
December 30, 2017 – Vogue - by Christina Liao
Downtown Los Angeles is going through a resurgence and the arrival of the new NoMad is only further proof of its comeback. The flagship property, along with its stellar restaurant, has long been favored by New Yorkers (it was even chosen by Beyoncé for her Soul Train–theme birthday party last year), which will make this second outpost particularly special for bicoastal travelers. Arriving late January, NoMad Los Angeles is taking over Giannini Place, a building originally built in the 1920s that served as the Bank of Italy’s headquarters. Aspects of its Neoclassical construction have been preserved and the hotel’s 241 rooms will pull inspiration from the carefully restored gold and blue Italianate lobby ceiling while still maintaining the Parisian flare we’ve come to know and love. The food and beverage program will be overseen by chef Daniel Humm (of acclaimed Eleven Madison Park) and restaurateur Will Guidara and will include an Italy-inspired café, but the rooftop, with its alfresco dining space, cocktail bar, and pool, will surely be an instant hit.
R.D. Olson Brings Dual-Branded H Hotel To The Los Angeles Airport
December 13, 2017 – Hotel Management - by Elliott Mest
When it comes to hotel conversions, nothing offers up surprises like a concrete office building from the 1960s. When R.D. Olson Construction cracked into what would eventually become the H Hotel, Curio Collection by Hilton and Homewood Suites in Los Angeles, company president Bill Wilhelm didn’t expect to find a backup transformer for the nearby Los Angeles International Airport, as well as a walk-in vault buried behind a number of walls.
Wilhelm said such “features” were unexpected, yet not too uncommon in the world of adaptive reuse. When the building’s owner, Sea View Investors, partnered with R.D. Olson to build a dual-branded Curio/Homewood Suites by Hilton combo out of a leftover building at the LAX airport, Wilhelm took one look at the property’s documentation and boiled it down to one word: Vague.
“It looked like a prison building,” he said. “It had concrete fiberglass fins on the outside. It wasn’t that attractive. We learned a long time ago the best thing to do in instances such as these would be to take the interior all the way down to the structural bones. The mechanical systems may have some life left in them, but you may be better off tearing it all out. So we did.”
R.D. Olson determined that the exterior of the building was good enough to keep, but updated it to modern aesthetic standards. Roughly $60 million was spent on converting the property into a dual-branded hotel. Unfortunately, Wilhelm said the building’s hidden vault had to go.
“We hate to tear apart something with a great story, and of course it’s quite costly because these things are built like Fort Knox, but location made the difference,” Wilhem said. “We talked about keeping the vault because it was impressive. Unfortunately it was dead center on the first floor and conflicted with a planned retail restaurant. There was no way to lay out around it.”
“Both fitness centers are impressive, but the Curio is over the top,” Wilhem said. “It’s located on the 12th floor, it overlooks the LAX runways and when you’re on a treadmill it feels like you are running down the landing strip. Homewood’s fitness center is more internal, and overall it’s a different presentation.”
Unlike the vault, the aforementioned LAX transformer was forced to stay on property. Wilhelm said developers were forced to work with the Los Angeles Department for Work and Pensions—as well as a coordinated shutdown of backup emergency generators at LAX during certain periods of development—partly to update the transformer to meet current safety and electrical standards. However, Wilhelm said these are typical aspects of an adaptive reuse such as this, particularly one located near an airport. The biggest challenge facing developers today, he said, lies with subcontractor resources.
“It’s an industrywide challenge,” Wilhelm said. “Developers need strong relationships. We counted our lucky stars on this one because we had strong relationships, which made it easier than it could have been. Another challenge is city agencies, as they are all understaffed. They are doing a good job keeping up with the number of products going up in Los Angeles, but it’s taxing these systems.”
For the future of the LAX development market, Wilhelm said there are still opportunities for future growth, almost exclusively in adaptive-reuse projects. Like many developers in the industry, he has concerns about oversupply, and he cautions against overbuilding in a market that may not be able to sustain it.
“In the short term, we have to be careful due to how supply and demand is playing out,” he said. “The airport is spending billions on growing its infrastructure and terminals, and the Olympics is coming to Los Angeles in eight years. That may seem like a long time, but it will take a lot of effort and planning. We have to be careful, and we have to reinvest in our communities to keep opportunities close to home and make these developments sustainable.”
Adaptive Re-use Dominates Hotel Builds
November 22, 2017 – Globe St. - Kelsi Maree Borland
Safety Concerns in The Construction Industry
November 21, 2017 – Globe St. - Carrie Rossenfeld
R.D. Olson’s latest Aviation Inspired Hotel Project on the Local News.
November 6, 2017
R.D. Olson Construction Highlighted in the Orange County Business Journal
October 23, 2017
R.D. Olson Construction named Civic 50 Orange County Honoree
September 18, 2017
New Affordable Projects Help Residents Live Near Work
September 8, 2017 – Globe St. - Carrie Rossenfeld
Record Number Of California Hotel Rooms Open in First Half of 2017
July 18, 2017 – Orange County Register
R.D. Olson Construction Named as One of the Best Places to Work in Orange County for the Second Year in A Row
June 29, 2017
What Determines If Hotel Projects Move Forward?
March 3, 2017
R.D. Olson Contributes Insight to the Wall Street Journal
February 22, 2017
Four R.D. Olson Projects Mentioned and Honored in California Meeting and Events Magazine
February 17, 2017 – California Meetings & Events
CEO, Bob Olson, recognized in the Orange County Business Journal’s OC500
November 15, 2016 – Orange County Business Journal
Build Magazine recognizes R.D. Olson Construction as Most Innovative General Contractor and Most Innovative Hotel/Resort Project for the Pasea Hotel & Spa
October 26, 2016
More public spaces. Catering to international visitors. Hotels with local flair.
October 23, 2016 – Orange County Register
R.D. Olson Construction Named as One of the Best Places to Work in Orange County
July 25, 2016 – Orange County Business Journal
Building a Gem
July 14, 2016 – Construction Today
Is Goleta a Hotbed for Hotels?
July 1, 2016 – GlobeSt.com
R.D. Olson moves up another spot to #11 on the OCBJ Top Commercial Construction Companies List
June 13, 2016
R.D. Olson Once Again on the Top 400 US Contractors List
May 19, 2016 – Engineering News Record
Bicycle Casino Highlighted in Lodging Magazine
April 5, 2016 – Lodging Magazine - April 2016
Sense of Place Hugely Important for Hotels
March 9, 2016 – Globe St. - Carrie Rossenfeld
Olson: Each of these hotels is unique to what the market demand is. Our focus isn’t to bring a pre-set idea to a market, but to bring what the market is lacking. For example, in Huntington Beach, there was no truly lifestyle hotel that actually had the ability to hold large weddings, meetings and outdoor events in an oceanfront setting. That’s a category we felt was lacking, so that’s where Paséa Hotel & Spa comes in. We liked what Shorebreak has done, and it actually gave us some confidence that the demand was there, but the market needed much more meeting space and ocean views. Shorebreak was successful, but this piece was missing. For the Irvine Spectrum Marriott, we had developed a Courtyard there, and it was very well received by the business and leisure community, but what was missing was the full-service category—this market hasn’t had a new one in 10 years. We saw the demand for that through the hotel we have there. Marriott has recreated the Marriott brand—the mothership brand for Marriott—and they’ve made a big push to reinvent the brand to today’s travelers. We are the first rebuild of this new brand. It incorporates new rooms with wood flooring (no carpet), open closets, everything that appeals to today’s traveler. Marriott is the best in the business when it comes to understanding today’s travelers and keeping up with their demands. They have great research teams for every brand. We’re the first new build of that new brand, and combined with the shortage of full-service hotels in the market and what we knew from Courtyard, it gave the market what it was missing.
In Newport Beach, no new hotel had been built in 50 years. What we felt was missing there was a destination brand hotel where people go to really experience Newport Beach, what it has to offer, and to feel like they’re really in the fabric of Newport Beach. Many people think of Newport Beach as Fashion Island, but the reason people came was right here, on the peninsula—Lido Village and out to the Balboa Pavilion. People took the Red Car Trolley down from L.A., and the Pavilion was built in 1906. There really had been nothing to accommodate guests of a high quality in this area. We felt this was a great opportunity to do a destination brand that brought Newport Beach to Newport Beach, if you will. This hotel will celebrate its history, but also today’s fabric of Newport Beach, which makes up everybody from the surf crowd to the yachting group and even skateboarding. There’s a tremendous eclectic mix of so many culture, and this is a great way to bring that together.
Wilhelm: Each of these hotels is in a very unique community that is thriving and working together to enhance the community experience. The Irvine Spectrum area has developed and will continue to develop a great community—a live/work/all-around experience. You’ve now got a full-service hotel that will really enhance the experience of holding the community together: you’ve got the live/work aspect and part of the white-collar experience of Irvine Spectrum; the tech industry is also starting to expand its horizons in that area. I believe that having a full-service hotel brings things to full circle there and takes the game up a notch or two. With the Paséa Hotel—Huntington Beach has always been a very cool surf city. Over the last several years, it has grown a number of residential single-family communities and condos in the area. The city has always done a great job at trying to enhance the experience in Surf City—people use dot go there to surf, play volleyball and grab a burger. Today, there are hotels and condos and also a great retail experience with Pacific City. Paséa will be one of the top-rated hotels in Southern California, and there are a Hyatt and a Hilton next door to each other, which is enhancing the hospitality experience. The Paséa is looking to capture individuals who want to stay a number of nights.
As for Lido Village, the peninsula is a great place to hang out, but it has struggled with having a new identity. It had been kind of a sleepy town, but there have recently been some very impressive movements form the development side. They’re expanding and bringing to the forefront what Newport Beach is all about. There are lots of areas like Newport Coast that have been experiencing liveliness, but the peninsula has lagged. Lido Village will really help; it’s the gateway to the peninsula, and Lido House will really help launch that gateway. It’s a beach community property where you’ll know you’re in Newport Beach because the designers are focused on making the community a part of the design. They have really pulled the community into the project. Read the entire story at Globe St.com
Tracking the Rise of Microhotels
February 26, 2016 – Globe St. - Carrie Rossenfeld
Irvine, CA—The hospitality industry has recognized an opportunity to appeal to Millennials and go further with the existing trends of improved hotel amenities without raising rates by simplifying individual guestrooms, R.D. Olson’s EVP Tim Cromwell tells GlobeSt.com. Some are calling this new combination of small rooms and lively common areas “the microhotel.” We sat down for an exclusive interview with Cromwell about the microhotel trend, which brands are adopting it and where it could lead.
GlobeSt.com: What makes the “microhotel” attractive to Millennials?
Cromwell: Hotel brands and developers are trading spacious or luxurious guestrooms for common areas that foster community. With an emphasis on vibrant communal space, style and economic value, microhotels appeal to today’s social traveler. Millennial-friendly amenities include large common areas, free WiFi, breakfast, and smaller guestrooms to encourage socializing and use of the property’s common areas.
GlobeSt.com: What hotel brands are jumping on board?
Cromwell: Some of the most fascinating and dramatic applications of the microhotel concept can be seen at properties that are looking to capture the more budget-conscious Millennial. For example, Pacifica Hotels is targeting the Millennial subset at the Wayfarer in Santa Barbara, CA, where guests can choose between private hotel rooms or dorm-style hostel rooms. In addition to the heated pool, community kitchen and “playful” decor, the hotel/hostel advertises the lively activity of Santa Barbara’s nearby State Street as an amenity in itself. Pacifica Hotels has similar plans for converting the historic Ritz-Milner Hotel in Downtown Los Angeles to another Wayfarer property in 2016.
Additionally, Marriott’s Moxy brand couples 183-square-foot standard rooms with amenities targeted at urban travelers such as full bars and grab-and-go food offerings. In the same vein, Hilton’s Tru brand plans to offset compact 230-square-foot king rooms with 2,770 square feet of varied amenity space to offer travelers a range of areas to relax and socialize.
GlobeSt.com: Will this trend continue for new hotel developments in the future?
Cromwell: Microhotels have been well received in urban areas and are expected to continue expansion into more suburban areas where travelers look for both great value and smart design. It will be interesting to watch how the hospitality industry evolves to further capitalize on the community-minded nature of the Millennial traveler in 2017 and beyond. For now, the name of the game is the exchange of larger, luxurious guestrooms for more highly amenitized common areas that foster community.
Reasons For Plateau on New Hotel Builds
January 27, 2016 – GlobeSt.com
IRVINE, CA—Concern about oversaturation has arisen among hotel developers and lenders who see quite a bit of product in the pipeline, opening opportunities in renovation and repositioning of properties, R.D. Olson Construction’s president Bill Wilhelm tells GlobeSt.com. The firm was recently selected by Disney Way Partners, L.P., as the general contractor for the new Country Inn & Suites ground-up hotel project in Anaheim. We spoke with Wilhelm about how hotel brands and developers choose fulfill their objectives in a particular market, as well as his expectations for hotel construction this year.
GlobeSt.com: How do hotel brands and developers fulfill their objectives in a particular market?
Wilhelm: That’s a question that’s not all that easy to answer. Geographics is playing a lot into what hotels are built and where, and also the number of equal-type hotels that might be located in a general area. Brands will be very careful not to oversaturate a local market based on what they have in the market. From a branding perspective, they understand what they have in that neighborhood. Brands do a really good job of gauging what the market conditions can withstand from a renovation or development perspective.
Developers are looking for dirt, knocking on doors and selling why that location makes sense. They’ve got relationships with different brands, and they understand what makes a location work in a specific area. Local geographics play a lot to the success of a hotel long term. They start to evaluate what kinds of rooms, what features and what the community is looking for in order to get the best return on their investment. That drives a lot of it—they’re not going to put in a full-service hotel in an area that doesn’t have opportunities to fill those rooms. You want to put a full-service hotel in a market that has corporate customers but can also fill rooms with weekend usage.
You also have different market levels—primary, secondary—and some markets in the last four to five years have been all over the place. As the hospitality industry starts to slow down, certain markets may become a little skittish, so what is going to drive those rooms? Local business segments such as tourism might be in secondary market that aren’t bad markets, but a turn of events means they might not fill up as well.
They also look at existing properties flying their flag that may be aging, so they ask franchisees to update the properties to make them current; they might not renew a franchise if they don’t update. That’s part of the brand side; the developer side is understanding a geographic market and where they resonate putting heads on beds. Read more here.
Hotels to Add 100,000 SF of Event Space to Market by 2017
January 18, 2016 – Orange County Business Journal
By Paul Hughes
...Construction on a “lifestyle” hotel under the Marriott name starts in Irvine in March with a fall 2017 opening planned, said Mike Chavez, senior project manager for R.D. Olson, which is developing the project.
It’s “right across the street from (the) Taco Bell” headquarters and just off the I-5 (Santa Ana) in the Irvine Spectrum area.
The hotel includes a 5,000-square-foot ballroom that can be divided into two meeting rooms if needed; a 6,800-square-foot lawn; and a 1,500-square-foot prefunction area that opens onto both of the larger spaces —similar to the Paséa setup.
Two other meeting spaces—a boardroom of about 500 square feet and a 2,000-square-foot room that can be split in half—bring the hotel’s total space to just less than 16,000 square feet.
Chavez pointed out an interesting lawn element “for guests to have fun with,” a nearly life-sized chessboard—it covers about 240 square feet—with pieces 3 to 4 feet high.
Guests Love Amenities: The Shift in Demand from Select-Service to Full-Service Hotels
January 6, 2016 – Western Real Estate Business
The hospitality market has made a true comeback over the past several years as a result of the improving post-recession economy. Business trips are more common, and families and couples are once again traveling for pleasure. To keep up with the increased demand, the hospitality construction and development sectors have responded, adding various properties, many of which are select-service hotels in strategic locations. While this rapid growth has positioned the hospitality sector well, there are signs the market is imminently changing— and that the strategy behind hospitality construction and development must, and will, change with it. The improvements in the economy have driven increased demand for beds and amenities. That same economic upturn has also boosted land and construction prices, ultimately increasing the cost of hotel development. While there is stilldemand for additional hotel rooms in some markets, others are showing signs of saturation. Hospitality professionals will need to address both the increased cost of construction and market saturation – and provide a truly unique product — if they are to succeed and compete in the changing marketplace.
- Bill Wilhelm, President - R.D. Olson Construction
Read the entire story on page 24 of this month's Western Real Estate Business.
The hotel boom of 2015
December 29, 2015 – Orange County Register
High occupancy rates, rising room rates, record hotel sales - the year had it all.
We’re excited to be a part of the booming hotel industry in Orange County this year! According to a recent article in the Orange County Register, the OC experienced high occupancy rates, rising room rates, and an increase in new construction in 2015. Our Pasea Hotel & Spa project, slated to open in the spring of 2016, was featured in the piece, which highlighted the hotel’s unique customer experience and amenities, such as flip flops instead of slippers and 34,000 square feet of event space. Learn more about the region’s hotel boom here.