Hotel Lauded as ‘Gateway’ to Brentwood

Two women discuss the view north from the seventh floor of the Drury Hotel and Suites during public tours of the new facility on Wednesday. (Photo by Steve Bowman)

Drury Hotel and Suites holds ribbon-cutting on Sept. 17

By Steve Bowman
Editor, The Brentwood Spirit
bowmansj@sbcglobal.net

The hotel’s general manager, Nelson Bay, speaks to the crowd before the ribbon-cutting. (Photo by Steve Bowman)

Most of those who arrived for the ribbon-cutting at Brentwood’s new Drury Hotel and Suites were eager to go inside and see what it looked like. But alderman Thomas Kramer stood outside the front entrance for a few minutes with his back to the hotel, gazing out toward Highway 40.

“I’m so excited because I never thought I’d see the view from here outwards,” he said later. “I actually stood in amazement just looking from this vista. I’ve never seen the Magna Bank building from this location. The view is tremendous.”

Like most local residents, Kramer has been watching for more than a year as the four-acre site was developed at the corner of Brentwood Boulevard and Eager Road, and the eight-story hotel went up floor by floor. The hotel opened a few weeks ago but the ribbon-cutting provided an opportunity for locals to tour the $35.5 million structure, meet the staff and eat a complimentary lunch.

A restaurant next door to the hotel, the Bonefish Grill, is expected to open in mid-October said Kramer, whose ward contains the property.

The ribbon-cutting ceremony included short speeches by Brentwood Mayor Pat Kelly, two of Drury’s national executives and the hotel’s new general manager. About 100 people attended.

Brentwood Mayor Pat Kelly (left) and hotel GM Nelson Bay cut the ribbon held by Drury executives Larry Hasselfeld (far left) and Joe Pereles. (Photo by Steve Bowman)

‘Gateway to our community’

“This is the highest and best use for this corner in the city of Brentwood,” Kelly told the crowd, “and it’s really the gateway of our community.”

Kelly thanked former alderwoman Barb Clemons, “who was part of the original vision that brought this hotel here.” He also thanked former planning and zoning chairman John Gephart for being “another key member that started this vision of Eager Road,” and he credited former planning and zoning administrator Ellen Rottjakob for having “a great hand in this.”

Mayor Pat Kelly points out that Brentwood aldermen Thomas Kramer, Maureen Saunders, Patrick Toohey and Lee Wynn are in the audience. (Photo by Steve Bowman)

Despite hurdles, ‘an ideal spot’

The site was difficult to develop because of utilities, topography, the adjacent creek and buildings already on the site, said Larry Hasselfeld, senior vice president and CFO of Drury Development Corp. But he told the crowd that it was worth the effort.

“Despite the difficult site issues, we felt the location adjacent to I-64 and I-170, and considering the recent redevelopment that had already been accomplished in Brentwood, was just an ideal spot for another Drury product in St. Louis,” Hassefeld said.

Hasselfeld credited Kelly, Rottjakob, Brentwood City Administrator Bola Akande, “and many others” for supporting the project “in arguably the worst economic times we’ve seen in the past 30 years.”

About Kelly, Hasselfeld added, “I think it’s safe to say that without his vision and ongoing support, we’d still be standing on a maintenance facility parking lot here today.”

Mayor Pat Kelly speaks to the crowd. (Photo by Steve Bowman)

2 ballrooms, meeting space, pool, etc.

The food spread for the ribbon-cutting included plenty of sweets. (Photo by Steve Bowman)

The new hotel’s general manager, Nelson Bay, also addressed the crowd.

“It’s hard to believe that 40 years ago Drury started with a small exterior corridor hotel with a room rate of $10.88 a night,” said Bay. “I think the rates here might be a little bit higher. Now we have a 210-room hotel that features two ballrooms, a flexible meeting space and great amenities, like an indoor/outdoor pool, a fitness center, free food in the morning and evening, free Internet, free local calls and one-hour long distance every day for free.”

Hotel employees await the crowd in the dining area. (Photo by Steve Bowman)

Started in Sept. 2012

In September 2012 permits were issued for demolition and site clearance on a 3.97-acre site that contained a vacated MoDOT maintenance area and the Ultimate Bride and H.A. Rothman buildings. Construction began in spring 2013 on the 135,000-square-foot hotel and an 8,000-square-foot restaurant outparcel.

The general contractor for the project was Drury Development Corp.

The City provided $5.75 million in support for the project. Sales at the hotel and restaurant are expected to be $9 million annually. The hotel has generated 50 permanent jobs.

The hotel’s lobby and check-in desk. (Photo by Steve Bowman)
A hotel employee speaks to visitors who are taking the tour. (Photo by Steve Bowman)
Visitors tour a two-room suite. (Photo by Steve Bowman)
Here’s the view looking northwest from the seventh floor. The Bonefish Grill restaurant (left) is expected to open in mid-October. (Photo by Steve Bowman)
Here’s what the front of the hotel looked like on Sept. 5, 2013. (Photo by Steve Bowman)
The front of the hotel on Feb. 4, 2014. (Photo by Steve Bowman)
The completed Drury Hotel and Suites Brentwood. (Photo by Steve Bowman)

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