|Refreshed, cleaned up and aiming for|
upward mobile travelers: Hotel Indigo
on 24 W. Franklin Street
The glacial pace of change has shifted into what can only be considered high gear based on that almost stagnant past:
It began with the 171 apartments at 520 Park Avenue (they do overlook Franklin Street thanks to a vacant lot in front, now also slated for development) with rents above $3 dollars a foot (developer lingo, but a far cry from the $1 which seemed to be the ceiling around here). It continued with 501 Franklin, former nursing home rooms converted to 138 student apartments (still under construction). Even on Mulberry Street, across from Marticks a big hole is dug for 68 new affordable apartments developed by Enterprise Homes. The entire block where Marticks sits is advertised for redevelopment by BDC.
|501 West Franklin: nursing home to student apartments|
Last month the Hotel Indigo opened its doors luring more guests to its 162 room quarters that are targeted to be way more affluent than the market of previous very budget hotel incarnations here. Located diagonally across from the Pratt Library and across from a now defunct soup-kitchen the hotel is quite far away from its competiors who more or less all cluster within a short walk of the Inner Harbor.
No two neighborhoods are alike. Neither are any two Hotel Indigo® properties. When you stay with us, you’re not just staying anywhere, you’re staying somewhere—within a vibrant community, in a unique boutique hotel that combines authentic local experiences, modern design and intimate service with the peace of mind and consistency of staying with one of the world’s largest hotel groups.Clearly, in an attempt to reach various segments of the travelling population, the hotels have embarked on niche branding away from the bland sameness, towards local, authentic, and unique. How does such a "from farm to table" approach translate into actual design in the hospitality industry? Randy Sovich, the architect, designed with this project his first hotel.
That the developer, Focus Development picked his
|Wallpaper sketches behind the headboard|
This hotel sits smack in the historic Cathedral Hill District, once Baltimore's most fashionable address with an largely intact set of historic structures all around, not last a set of grand churches. For this to find, the folks have to leave the hotel.
|The Poet bar and restaurant with ceiling painting|
Regardless of these branding exercises, or instead of quibbling with the fact that roof skylights were closed for ventilation instead of illuminating the top level meeting rooms, the lobby the adjacent restaurant bar "Poet" and the "library" deserve undivided praise: They are very welcoming and a well designed blend of old architecture with contemporary sensibilities for decor, offering a new happy hour or business lunch joint west of Charles Street where selection was extremely slim.
The fact that Focus, Shaffin Jetha and Indigo gave a go to this $23 million investment, including acquisition of the historic gem from 1907 built by the YMCA, and serious upgrade of the 1982 hotel conversion can only be commended and hoped to have success. Guests that venture out of its front door will, indeed, have much more to discover than Bubba Gump or the Cheesecake Factory.
Klaus Philipsen, FAIA
I toured the hotel on Thursday as part of a ULI gathering.
|Reception desk across from the front door|
|Neighborhood views from the guest rooms|