Building a Gem
July 14, 2016 – Construction Today
The Irvine Spectrum Marriott will be Ideal for Work and Leisure. by Alan Dolrich
R.D. Olson Construction has built a reputation for seeking out projects that will leave a legacy in their communities. “We continually look for projects that are above the norm,” President Bill Wilhelm says. “We are attracted to unique and challenging projects that create opportunities to forge direct relationships with their surrounding communities. This gives us the chance to not only deliver authentic, local experiences for guests, but to engage locals to enjoy properties’ public amenities, such as onsite restaurants, that are available to both guests and community members alike.”
Irvine Spectrum Marriott reflects R.D. Olson Construction’s focus on providing benefits to the community through its projects. Located in the heart of the Irvine Spectrum Center in Irvine, Calif., the 15-story hotel will be the first, full-service hotel project in the city in more than a decade.
When finished in the spring of 2017, the hotel will feature a rooftop lounge and bar, high-end amenities and 217 rooms, including 50 suites with full kitchens, and 121 king beds and 100 double queen bed configurations. It also will have more than 13,000 square feet of meeting and pre-function space, a 2,000-square-foot fitness center with CrossFit-style equipment, and a pool and spa area complete with outdoor fire pits and fireplaces.
The hotel will be a good fit in the Irvine Spectrum community, Wilhelm says. “It’s a property that will be associated with a number of different venues in the area, serving the local office, residential and retail communities,” he says. “It will make a great splash and fill a void in the hospitality offerings in that area.”
The hotel’s amenities and meeting space allow ample opportunity for both work and leisure activities, Wilhelm adds, which is especially relevant given the property’s location nearby several major corporation headquarters and central Orange County housing and shopping. “The property allows for the flexibility to create environments that allow guests and visitors to accomplish their daily work and host corporate events. At the same time, if the family wants to tag along on a business trip, they can enjoy the best of what the full-service facility has to offer as well as nearby amenities,” he states.
R.D. Olson Construction’s sister company, R.D. Olson Development, is developing the project. This is not the duo’s first hotel for Marriott International in Irvine, Wilhelm says. “Irvine Spectrum Marriott is located adjacent to a Courtyard by Marriott that we constructed,” he says. “Those two properties will perform well for Marriott and provide business travelers and visitors with a variety of options.”
R.D. Olson Construction has much in common with Marriott, Wilhelm says. “Both companies really care about people and the end-user experience, and also continuously aim to be at the forefront of our respective industries,” he says.
On the Cutting-Edge
R.D. Olson Construction is building Irvine Spectrum Marriott with sustainability in mind, Wilhelm says. “With the new Title 24 credits in California emphasizing construction ‘greenness,’ more attention goes into every detail such as the electrical system and the way it monitors different circuitries,” he says. “By examining these back-end systems from the beginning, we can make sure that the property performs in a more environmentally-friendly way without placing large burdens on the end-user.”
Such sustainable features will make Irvine Spectrum Marriott an upgrade from other hotels, Wilhelm adds. “It is definitely a property that will be a cut above the rest,” he says. “It is a true reflection of how many hotel brands are continuously upgrading their brand on a yearly basis.”
The hotel’s design is still being developed despite the construction process being underway, something to which R.D. Olson Construction is accustomed. “We’re part of that frontier team, out there working with ownership and Marriott on finishes, textures, colors and other elements that will give this property the ‘wow factor’ it needs to be cutting-edge and exceed guest expectations,” he says.
This design/build approach has become more common in the travel industry, as hotels want to stay in tune with what is popular with guests. “In about 80 percent of hotels that R.D. Olson builds, we’re in the trenches during the design phase, trying to make the concept the most successful it can be,” Wilhelm says.
In the case of Irvine Spectrum Marriott, the interior design will celebrate the rich history of the Irvine Ranch, in keeping with R.D. Olson’s dedication to paying homage to the communities in which its hotel projects are located.
Based in Irvine, R.D. Olson Construction started operations in 1979 and provides general contracting and construction management services for clients nationally. Wilhelm, who joined the firm 22 years ago, credits its success to its people. “We’ve got the best in the industry, bar none,” he says.
Finding those people can sometimes be difficult, he admits. During the recession, “The construction industry lost a number of qualified craftsmen,” he recalls. “Some retired and some went into other industries.”
Like many, it was a challenge for R.D. Olson Construction to make up for the lost labor. However, the company “does a good job of managing that challenge,” he asserts. “We have strong relationships with our subcontractor community.”
He sees a strong future for the company, which has learned many lessons over the past 37 years. “We have always performed well during tough times,” Wilhelm says. “Because of our vast experience and industry knowledge, we’re able to anticipate downturns, and make adjustments accordingly.
“The company’s success and growth is attributed to the strong partnerships we have established with our customers,” he asserts. “There is a direct correlation between our customer’s growth and ours.”