Hotel lobbyBy Steve Lackmeyer
The Oklahoman

Mike Patel, CEO of NewcrestImage Hotels, is betting Bricktown will continue to grow as a visitor destination.

His Irving, Texas, company is opening the $15 million, 124-room Holiday Inn Express at Main Street and Oklahoma Avenue later this month, and his next project will be construction of two 150-room hotels as part of the Steelyard development taking place in east Bricktown.


The next two hotels are valued at $45 million, bringing the company’s investment in Bricktown to $60 million.“We’re very happy to be in Bricktown,” Patel said. “It’s a unique time for what we call a hidden jewel. A lot of people are still not aware of what is going on. We’re happy to have found it.”

The Holiday Inn Express, Patel said, represents his company’s approach to its hotel. ADG, an architectural firm based in Bricktown for the past three decades, won accolades for its work on the hotel when it was presented to the city’s design review committee.

Previous hotels pitched for the site by other companies were criticized for designs that did not fit into the historic district’s character. Patel, with 20 years in the industry, said his approach to hotel development is different than that of some of his competitors.

“We got fed up with going for quantity and started focusing on quality,” Patel said. “In anything you do, there needs to be a passion. So we look at how can this be a unique place and make a memory for those who make it their stay? What are the unique things we can do with design and the ambiance?”

Instead of hiring an out-of-town hotel design shop, Patel said he hires local firms like ADG. One of the new hotels in the Steelyard will be an AC by Marriott, the chain’s new upscale, contemporary offering aimed at young professionals.

“It will have an iconic sign, and it will have an iconic restaurant,” Patel said. “It will have 10,000 square feet for restaurants and retail. Our goal is a Wolfgang Puck, PF Changs or a steakhouse.”

The Holiday Inn Express doesn’t feature a restaurant, but Brian Werkman is eager to show off other features, including a unique view of the downtown skyline.

A center courtyard with an outdoor kitchen, fire pit and grill will provide guests the opportunity to cook outside, from full meals to roasting marshmallows. The hotel also features an indoor pool, fitness center, 24-hour business center and free breakfasts. The rooms include three 750-square-foot executive king suites with kitchen and dining areas.

“We look forward to welcoming our first guests to our hotel and showing off the vibrancy of the area to visitors from out of town,” Werkman said. “Our team is thrilled to have the opportunity to contribute to the economic growth of this great city.”