Inside Irvine’s First Full Service Hotel in a Decade
April 13, 2018 – Globe St. - by Kelsi Maree Borland
THE NEW $120 MILLION IRVINE SPECTRUM MARRIOTT IS THE FIRST FULL-SERVICE HOTEL TO HIT THE MARKET IN A DECADE, AND DEVELOPER R.D. OLSON SAYS THAT IT FILLS A BIG HOLE IN THE MARKET.
The first full-service hotel in more than a decade has opened in Irvine. R.D. Olson Construction has completed construction of the Irvine Spectrum Marriott, a $120 million 15-story full-service hotel. The project fills a void for high-end product in the market, which is popular for leisure and business travelers. It will specifically target millennial travelers with a host of amenities and food and beverage options.
“Our vision was really to create a hotel that fit in with Irvine Ranch. There is a rich history of Irvine Ranch, which has gone from ranches and farms to universities,” Bob Olson, president of R.D. Olson Development, tells GlobeSt.com. “It has been a great evolution. Our vision was to create a hotel that is reflective of where we are. To be able to reflect that history through the artwork and the design was a lot of fun.”
The absence of full-service hotel development in Irvine says more about economic prosperity than demand, according to Olson. Select-service is more cost effective to build, and as a result, more of that hotel product type has come to market. “To be honest, investors prefer select-service hotels. I though the full-service piece was missing in the market,” explains Olson. “There was not a full service hotel to the extent that it created an opportunity for us. It was really a big hole in the donut, and we stepped up and filled it. We met what the market wanted, and that can be hard to determine. We found that a lot of travelers in this market were not staying in the area because there wasn’t high enough lodging, and that was especially true for business customers.”
The developer felt the demand justified the project. Since, the market has seen healthy growth, especially in the office sector, inflating the need for full-service hotel. “We pulled the trigger on this project three years ago, and at the time, the economy was healthy, but growing at a sluggish pace,” says Olson. “There wasn’t the confidence then that you see today in the hotel market, but we felt confident in the Irvine Spectrum market. We thought that long-term, it was a great place to do business, and today, it really is becoming the business center of Orange County. I think that this will emerge as one of the leading business centers in Southern California.”
While there were some pessimists about the project, Olson says that the positive traction has already proven the success of the hotel. “Our customers love the hotel. Guests are going to run into both locals and travelers on the rooftop bar,” he says. There is a great pulling together and a sense of place.”
The developer plans to hold the property for the long term.