CAUTIOUS OPTIMISM AND THE “NEW NORMAL” AT ALIS 2018
ALIS 2018’s opening day panel Dealing with the New Normal contemplates if new fundamentals are at play in the hospitality investment industry. From left to right, moderator Rob Kline, Chartres Lodging Group, Carter Wilson, STR, Cindy Estis Green, Kalibri Labs, Mark Wynne Smith, JLL Hotels, and Mark Woodworth, CBRE Hotels.
Photo credit: Stephanie Ricca, Hotel News Now.
Earlier this month I had the pleasure of attending the 2018 installment of the Americas Lodging Investment Summit, or ALIS, as it’s more commonly known in the industry. The 2018 summit was especially notable given this year’s event was the first summit our recently merged AXIS/GFA Architecture + Design team attended together. Joining me this year was Gene Fong, AXIS/GFA Principal Architect, head of our Los Angeles studio, and founder of Gene Fong Associates, the firm AXIS/GFA Architecture + Design merged with nearly a year ago. In previous years when I attended the summit, I tended to focus on the formal seminar sessions; this year, with Gene attending, the two of us spent a majority of our time in the hallways between sessions introducing former AXIS clients to Gene, and former GFA clients to me. Not surprisingly, given both GFA’s and AXIS’ noted pre-merger reputations for hotel and hospitality design, our mutual introductions were more than familiar.
Apart from providing more opportunities to catch-up with our clients and project partners, spending more time in the break-out areas between sessions seemed to provide a more candid and organic touch on the pulse of the industry directly from the attending stakeholders themselves. With that feedback in mind, three notable themes seemed to elevate themselves as the key issues for stakeholders at this year’s summit.
Dealing with the “new normal”
This year, ALIS attendees approached the event with a modicum of trepidation, and rightly so given January 2018 saw the 94th straight month of growth in the hospitality industry, leaving many in attendance questioning when the current growth cycle will end. But as STR’s Hotel News Now captured on day one of the summit, stakeholders seem less occupied with predicting an impending calamity as opposed to considering if a “new normal” might have set in, wherein the industry is less cyclical, and whereby the traditional market indicators are no longer prescient. With guest-side market fundamentals still indicating room for the industry to grow (although perhaps with less vigor than in previous record-breaking quarters), developers appear to be focusing less on the macro/national-level indicators, and more on the micro/local-level indicators closer to any given project. Said another way, if the national indicators continue to be unhelpful given their inability to shed light on the direction of the market, then focus instead on the local indicators to validate or reject a project.
Look to “value” projects, especially hotel renovation projects
Two of the most common concerns voiced by developers in the hallways between sessions at ALIS 2018 were increasing land costs, and the equally concerning increase in the cost of construction labor. To mitigate upfront land costs, and instead of initiating new-builds on raw land, developers are getting wise and focusing on finding existing hotels ripe for renovation and reflagging. The challenge being, given the limited number of existing properties ideal for renovation, even these “value” properties are being bid up in price by thirsty developers keen to capitalize on their potential. Combine that situation with the aforementioned increasing cost of labor – made worse by skilled labor shortages in the building trades – and very quickly “value” projects start to rival new-build projects in terms of costs and risks to project profitability. For now at least, anticipate renovations to existing hotels to continue to gain favor among developers.
Are we over-supplying yet?
Coinciding with ALIS 2018 was STR’s Hotel News Now article indicating California had significantly exceeded 2017 supply expectations with a record number of rooms opening last year. 10,793 rooms were activated in 66 hotels in California in 2017, with over 4,309 of those rooms opening in downtown LA alone. All totaled, 2017 represented a 292% increase over 2016’s new room numbers, with those new rooms being the most brought online in California since 2008. With California’s 2018 pipeline already flush with roughly 18,000 rooms in 123 hotels – most of which will hit the market in the next 24 months – one has to wonder how much more inventory California can absorb before hotel performance starts taking a hit. Add a trend of declining tourism numbers as a result of a stronger dollar and increased visa restrictions, and the risk of over-supply becomes even more concerning.
AXIS/GFA PROUDLY ANNOUNCES TEAM MEMBER PROMOTIONS
As AXIS/GFA Architecture + Design continues to grow, we’re proud to announce the promotion of the following team members:
PROJECT UPDATE: AC HOTEL EL SEGUNDO BREAKS GROUND
AXIS/GFA Architecture + Design is pleased to announce that its AC Hotel El Segundo project broke ground on January 26. A 180 room six-story project for Welcome Group, with interior design expertise provided by Design Force and construction by R.D. Olson Construction, the project is anticipated to complete by May, 2019. Be sure to watch future editions of The Praxis for the latest updates on this project.
PROJECT ANNOUNCEMENT: AXIS/GFA AWARDED THE STAYBRIDGE SUITES AND HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS HUDSON COMMONS PROJECT IN GOODYEAR, ARIZONA
AXIS/GFA Architecture + Design is pleased to announce our having been awarded San Ysidro Ventures’ Staybridge Suites and Holiday Inn Express Hudson Commons dual-branded hotel project in Goodyear, Arizona. Upon completion, the project will deliver a four-story building accommodating a 188 room Staybridge Suites and 90 room Holiday Inn Express hotel. The project is scheduled to break ground later this summer. Interior design expertise by Design Force. Additional details to follow in future editions of The Praxis.
THE HAMPTON INN & SUITES BY HILTON SANTA MONICA, AN AXIS/GFA PROJECT WITH STUDIO HBA AND GWYNNE PUGH URBAN STUDIOS, WINS A 2017 BOUTIQUE DESIGN MAGAZINE GOLD KEY AWARD
Recognized as one of the premier interior design competitions in the hospitality industry, the annual Gold Key Awards by Boutique Design Magazine recognizes some of the most influential and innovative interior design work in the hospitality industry. Hosting their award gala in coordination with their annual Boutique Design New York conference and trade fair each fall, 2017’s competition saw AXIS/GFA’s Hampton Inn & Suites by Hilton Santa Monica project win the Gold Key Award for Best Hotel Budget/Focused Service. As executive architects on the project, and led by our Los Angeles studio, AXIS/GFA joins interior designers Studio HBA, design architect Gwynne Pugh Urban Studios, and OTO Development in congratulating everyone involved in the award winning design.
AXIS/GFA WELCOMES TERRY TREMAYNE TO ITS SAN FRANCISCO OFFICE
AXIS/GFA is pleased to welcome Terry Tremayne, AIBC, to its San Francisco studio. Originally from Vancouver, British Columbia, Terry includes his exposure to a wide variety of building types as a notable influence on his approach to functional and sustainable building design. Having held a number of leadership positions in a number of different organizations, Terry’s addition to the team strengthens AXIS/GFA’s reputation for delivering the flexible and responsive service and expertise we’ve come to be known for.
Welcome to the team Terry! Best of luck!
PROJECT ANNOUNCEMENT: AXIS/GFA’S HAMPTON INN BY HILTON AND HOMEWOOD SUITES BY HILTON LONG BEACH PROJECT CELEBRATES ITS OFFICIAL GRAND OPENING
Earlier this month, AXIS/GFA Los Angeles architects Kevin Sund, Avani Sheth, Hooman Monfared and Principal Architect Gene Fong attended the official grand opening of AXIS/GFA’s latest California hotel project, the Hampton Inn by Hilton and Homewood Suites by Hilton Long Beach.
Located near Long Beach Airport, this 241-room dual-branded hotel project developed and owned by Nexus Development boasts 143 keys in the Hampton Inn wing, and 98 keys in Homewood Suites wing. Managed by Evolution Hospitality, the property features shared amenities including a pool and fitness area, meeting rooms, putting green, outdoor grill area, and a number of generous indoor and outdoor lounge areas throughout the two hotels’ shared spaces. Although dual-branded, each hotel features its own dedicated dining area.
On the exterior, clean and modern lines take advantage of modern materials to coincide harmoniously with other buildings in the Douglas Park area, where a number of innovative companies including Boeing, Gulf Stream, and Mercedes-Benz have offices.
Be sure to visit AXIS/GFA’s online Hospitality portfolio for official project photography in the coming weeks.
“PROLIFERATING BRANDS IN A POST-CYCLICAL INDUSTRY” – AXIS/GFA DEBRIEFS THE LODGING CONFERENCE 2017
Late last month, members of the AXIS/GFA leadership team once again made the trip to Phoenix for the 2017 installment of The Lodging Conference. Recognized as one of the most important events on the hotel industry’s calendar, the 2017 event saw a number of changes to the event’s format, most notable of which was the hosting of the conference later in the year – a change which provided the benefit of additional clarity for keynote analysis and breakout discussion. Amidst that analysis and discussion two questions stood out: Could the hospitality industry finally be post-cyclical? What impact might the proliferating number of hotel brands have on hotel development?
Contemplating a post-cyclical industry
Regular readers of The Praxis will no doubt recall a common theme in our post-Lodging Conference reports in recent years has been the industry’s ongoing inability to identify when the current growth cycle would end. In our October 2016 blog post, “The end of the cycle is near…but this time we think we mean it.”, we capture how attendees of last year’s Lodging Conference went out of their way to rationalize the imminent end of the current cycle – something they had done in the previous two years as well. With the opening of the 2017 Lodging Conference, it was clear analysts had grown weary of predicting the end of a cycle that stubbornly refuses to capitulate, and instead had started to consider that new fundamentals might be at play. While average daily rates may have peaked in many key markets as indicated by Ali Hoyt, Senior Director of Consulting and Analytics at STR in her Day One keynote address, demand continues to outpace supply, while RevPAR in those markets is anticipated to continue to grow through 2019. The result is either a very soft landing to the cycles in those indicator markets, or, as Stonebridge Companies President and CEO Navin Dimond captured it, the market is starting to operate under new fundamentals where down-cycles are seemingly very similar to growth cycles – and potentially equally profitable. In either case, developers are likely to continue to find success in minor markets through 2019 as guest demand and consumer-side fundamentals continue to keep the industry moving in a positive direction.
Opportunity with increasing brand segmentation
As developers look to increase supply to satisfy that curiously ever-growing demand, hotel companies like Marriott and Hilton are compelled to consider new approaches. Mature brands – like Courtyard by Marriott and Hampton by Hilton – are starting to become saturated in many major markets. Unlike Starbucks however, having two of the same hotel down the street from one another is not a viable option. The solution? Brand segmentation and spin-off soft brands. A perfect example of this approach is Wyndham Hotel Group, which issued a release to coincide with the 2017 Lodging Conference announcing the addition of another six hotels to its soft brand collection, bringing the total number of hotels in their soft brand portfolio to 61.
For 2018 and into 2019, underdeveloped minor markets can expect to see an increase in the number of select and limited service spin-off and soft brand projects. For hotel architects, designers, and builders, a de-emphasis of brand prototypes is expected – even for limited service properties – as developers look to provide a unique stay experience to differentiate their property from the hotel being built across the street.
For this and other hospitality industry and hotel development insights, be sure to visit our blog.
PROJECT ANNOUNCEMENT – CONSTRUCTION BEGINS ON AXIS/GFA’S LATEST NEW-BUILD HOTEL PROJECT, THE HAMPTON INN AND SUITES ANAHEIM
Construction has started on AXIS/GFA’s latest new-build hotel project, the 5-story 178 room Hampton Inn and Suites Anaheim. Located at the entrance of the Katella Gateway of the Anaheim resort area only a few blocks from Disneyland and the Anaheim Convention Center, the project will feature an expansive lobby and breakfast area, pool on the second floor, and covered parking. The project adds another property to the portfolio of several successful hotel projects by AXIS/GFA in the Anaheim resort district. Additional updates and project imagery will follow in future Praxis newsletters.
HOST HOTELS & RESORTS RECOGNIZES TWO AXIS/GFA HOTEL PROJECTS
Earlier in November, AXIS/GFA Principal Architect Rory Carroll attended the Host Hotels & Resorts AGM and Stakeholder Engagement Meeting in McLean, Virginia. At the event, AXIS/GFA’s Axiom Hotel project won Host Hotels & Resorts Renovation Transformation of the Year award. The project required the transformation of the original 2-star hotel’s 155 guest rooms into a four star lifestyle boutique hotel serving both business and leisure travelers. The LEED Silver certified and award-winning hotel in the heart of downtown San Francisco boasts interior design by New York firm Stonehill Taylor. Project management by JLL.
No less of an accomplishment, AXIS/GFA’s Hyatt Regency SFO project was nominated for a Host Hotels & Resorts Project of the Year award. AXIS/GFA thanks and acknowledges EDG and HBA for their amazing interior design expertise on this massive 790 guest room/120,000 square foot public space hotel renovation project. Project management once again by JLL.
For more information on Host Hotels & Resorts and their portfolio of projects and properties, visit www.hosthotels.com. For the original press release announcing the completion of The Axiom Hotel, visit our News area at http://axisonline.net/press-release/axis-architecture-design-celebrates-the-completion-of-san-franciscos-axiom-hotel-renovation-project/.
AXIS/GFA ATTENDS THE 2017 NORTHWEST HOTEL INVESTMENT FORUM
Earlier this month AXIS/GFA founding architect Cory Creath travelled to Seattle to attend the Northwest Hotel Investment Forum. The forum, founded in 2011 by hospitality industry consultants Sandman Savrann, is an invitation-only, semi-annual event for principals and executives of hotel owners, brands, management companies, developers, investors, and lenders. The forum features a one-day agenda focusing on up-to-the-quarter trends in hotel investment, development, and design in the Pacific Northwest market. This and other events hosted by Sandman Savrann – including their perennially anticipated Powder Summit – make regular appearances on the AXIS/GFA event calendar, but with AXIS/GFA’s merger earlier this year, and with the firm poised to continue to position itself as one of the notable hospitality architectural design firms on the West Coast, this year’s forum was of particular interest to the team.
The 2017 installment of the forum provided attendees with a number of insights unique to the Northwestern hospitality market; here are our take-aways.
Investment – Look to minor markets for untapped opportunities
As would be expected, the factors tempering hotel development across the rest of the continent are influencing development in the Northwest as well; the suffocating cost of land, increasing labor costs and the evermore-competitive market for skilled labor are increasingly challenging developers along the west coast. Although 2016 and the start of 2017 saw a continuation of the previous five years’ momentum with record transaction volumes and prices per room, a look behind the numbers reveals a notable shift from metropolitan market investment to minor market investment. With that shift from major markets to fringe markets, the profile of hospitality investor and developer has changed as well, with REITs continuing to sit on the sidelines and smaller hotel companies and individuals filling their place. Not surprisingly, with the bigger investors on the bench, the profile of investment opportunity is changing too, with transactions valued over $200 million diving precipitously as investors with less capital look to more affordable markets where projects can be developed for much less.
The key take-away? As conditions continue to compel investors to reduce risk and cost, minor markets will increasingly become attractive options for developers. Architectural, interior design, and construction firms that support hotel developers will likely see a new roster of individual investor clients seeking their services as well.
Design – Modular construction to gain prominence
The previously mentioned increasing labor costs driving developers to explore new markets is the same condition compelling developers to explore new design and construction methods to reduce costs and increase project profitability. Notable among new construction approaches is modular construction, where significant components of a hotel – usually entire guestrooms and hallways – are fully built and furnished offsite for quick and inexpensive assembly at the building site in a process appropriately called “stacking”. Marriott, a brand AXIS/GFA has notable hotel design experience with, is leading the way in modular hotel construction with projects like its Folsom Fairfield Inn & Suites property, a proof-of-concept project overseen by NHIF panelist Don Cape, Director of Development for Tharaldson Hospitality. The modular property was delivered six months quicker than a typical Marriott new-build project, and was realized with two percent construction waste compared to the industry average of six percent. With select service properties popular with developers at the moment, and with modular design lending well to select service brands, hotel architects, interior designers, and builders can anticipate seeing more modular projects in the days to come.
SOON-TO-OPEN AXIS/GFA PROJECT HOTEL PASEO PALM DESERT FEATURED IN LA TIMES
AXIS/GFA will be issuing an official project announcement in the coming weeks, but in the meantime, our Los Angeles studio’s Hotel Paseo project in Palm Desert is already receiving media attention. The first new-build luxury hotel in Palm Desert in over 30 years, the boutique four star and entirely custom Autograph Collection by Marriott property leans on the local world-class fashion, art, and dining scene for design inspiration. Adding to El Paseo’s reputation as the “Rodeo Drive of the Desert,” the 149-room three-story development by Robert Leach cheekily boasts a 1950 Airstream trailer guest suite, as well as Shinola Runwell turntables and curated vinyl in their signature Billiards Suites. Interior design expertise by Kay Lang + Associates. For additional teasers on the property see the LA Times article here, and watch your inbox for our formal project announcement in the weeks to come.
AXIS/GFA (RE)WELCOMES SETH SCHOPIS BACK TO THE TEAM
Last month AXIS/GFA welcomed Seth Schopis back to their Los Angeles studio. Having worked for Gene Fong Associates from 2008 to 2011 before the AXIS/GFA merger, Seth was a valued member of the team prior to his departure several years ago. Originally from Ohio, and having earned his Masters of Architecture from UCLA, Seth credits experience at Toronto-based Adamson Associates and L.A.-based Marmol Radziner prior to rejoining the AXIS/GFA team.
Welcome back Seth! It’s great to have you back!
ARCHITECTS SUPPORTING THE VICTIMS OF THE 2017 NORTHERN CALIFORNIA WILDFIRES
As the reality of the tragic devastation from October’s Northern California wildfires sets in, AXIS/GFA extends its most heartfelt condolences to the victims affected by the tragedy, and offers our warmest thanks to the selfless first responders who helped those in harm’s way. In response to the disaster, architects from across the country are mobilizing to support affected victims and communities. Below are several initiatives underway by California-based architects we hope you’ll find worthy of supporting.
AIA Member Support Requested at Local Assistance Center Santa Rosa
The County of Sonoma and the City of Santa Rosa have opened a Local Assistance Center (LAC) in partnership with FEMA and the California Office of Emergency Services (CalEOS). The LAC is a one-stop shop with critical services for residents who have been impacted by the fires. The AIA will be set-up at the North Coast Builder’s Exchange table, answering questions for those needing to start the re-building process. AIA members are invited to register to participate and offer their expertise and support here.
AIA California Council Donation Fund
The AIA California Council has set up a donation fund for anyone to donate. Members and industry partners are encouraged to visit the pledge page to make a cash contribution in support of AIA and American Red Cross disaster relief initiatives.
For our part, AXIS/GFA is activating to provide support the best ways we can. AXIS/GFA team members can take advantage of paid time-off when applying their architecture skills with organizations in need of technical expertise. Additionally, AXIS/GFA offers days off with pay for team members volunteering in other relief capacities. If you are aware of an organization or charity that may benefit from AXIS/GFA’s volunteer support, we’d love to hear from you; please send us a message at firstname.lastname@example.org with more information.
PROJECT ANNOUNCEMENT: AXIS/GFA’S FISHERMAN’S WHARF HOTEL ADDITION PROJECT SUBMITTED TO SAN FRANCISCO PLANNING FOR A CONDITIONAL USE PERMIT
AXIS/GFA client Westbrook Realty recently acquired a property near San Francisco’s iconic Fisherman’s Wharf, and shortly thereafter retained our San Francisco studio to determine the feasibility of adding new rooms to the property. Westbrook Realty saw an opportunity to densify the site by utilizing a surface parking lot, potentially capitalizing on an area of San Francisco where land values are extremely high. AXIS/GFA was able to show Westbrook Realty it was possible to add up to 174 new keys to the footprint, all while not compromising the existing 342 guest rooms. The resulting four-story addition totaling 80,000 new square feet is possible thanks to a provision in the San Francisco Planning Code that allows hotels to be built without providing parking. In this project’s case, 166 parking spaces at the basement level will serve the 516 guest rooms.
Once the feasibility was proven, AXIS/GFA moved into the design phase where the challenge was to design a facade treatment that respected and related to the existing historic building while at the same time providing a fresh and contemporary aesthetic that would be a positive addition to the Fisherman’s Wharf streetscape. The City’s goal, adopted by the AXIS/GFA design team, was to enhance the pedestrian experience by maximizing the amount of ground floor retail. As a result, the hotel’s entry porte cochere was designed to be tucked underneath the building, focusing all of the public spaces – including the bar and dining areas – inwardly toward a generously landscaped courtyard. A rooftop terrace with spectacular views of the waterfront complete the design.
Currently, the Conditional Use application is in for review. Stay tuned for future updates as the project moves through the approval process.
PROJECT ANNOUNCEMENT: THE PULLMAN HOTEL REDWOOD CITY, AN AXIS/GFA HOTEL RENOVATION, BEGINS CONSTRUCTION
Construction has begun on the renovation of the former Redwood City, California Sofitel Hotel, converting the property into the Bay Area’s newest Pullman Hotel.
Architecturally designed by AXIS/GFA’s San Francisco studio, the renovated hotel will feature 421 keys, as well as an entirely modernized lobby, lounge bar, restaurant, and collection of meeting rooms. Complementing the interior renovations are 21 Pullman Prestige Suites. Interior design expertise provided by EDG.
On the exterior, improvements to the property include the updating of the pool area, and the incorporation of new gas fire pits and modern FF&E.
ARCHITECTS IN THE ENVIRONMENT: AXIS/GFA ATTENDS THE SAN FRANCISCO HOUSING ACTION COALITION’S HOUSING HEROES AWARDS GALA
During the last week of September, members of AXIS/GFA’s San Francisco studio once again had the pleasure of attending the San Francisco Housing Action Coalition’s Housing Heroes Awards Gala. The gala, now in its 15th year, “recognizes individuals and groups that make exceptional contributions towards creating more housing solutions for all San Franciscans.” Celebrating amongst design, engineering, construction, development, finance, land use, labor and public service industry partners, AXIS/GFA joined attendees in congratulating SFHAC Executive Director Tim Colen upon receiving a Lifetime Achievement Award for his 13 years of service to the Coalition. Also receiving recognition at the gala was Olson Lee, applauded for his 27 years of service as the City of San Francisco’s Director of the Mayor’s Office of Housing and Community Development, and the SF YIMBY Party, a San Francisco-based grassroots organization recognized for their significant work advancing public disclosure. Both Mr. Lee and YIMBY received Housing Heroes awards from SFHAC for their selfless work.
The SFHAC is a non-profit organization actively engaged in Bay Area politics to promote public policies that enable the creation of badly needed housing by challenging regulations that negatively affect San Francisco’s intense supply and demand imbalance. For its part, AXIS/GFA, a member of the Coalition for over eight years, is currently working on eight projects totaling 40 new dwelling units under a program promoted by SFHAC to convert underutilized ground floor space in existing apartment buildings.
For more information on the SFHAC and their great work, visit www.sfhac.org.
PROJECT ANNOUNCEMENT: THE RESIDENCE INN BY MARRIOTT SANTA BARBARA GOLETA TO COMPLETE CONSTRUCTION THIS NOVEMBER
An opening date has not been set, but one of AXIS/GFA’s latest new-build hotel design projects – the Residence Inn by Marriott Santa Barbara Goleta, currently under construction by R.D. Olson – is scheduled to complete construction this November.
Originally started by AXIS/GFA’s Los Angeles studio in 2006, the project has evolved over many years, and has proceeded through development with a purposefully measured pace to respect the claims of the Chumash people, a Native American people whose oral histories suggested an early Native American settlement was buried below the project. To satisfy the concerns of the Chumash, AXIS/GFA has incorporated a beautiful and culturally appropriate tribute to Chumash heritage on the site.
Given AXIS/GFA’s long history with this project, as well as the fascinating cultural influences that were key in its design, be sure to watch for our formal project announcement and official project photography nearer the turn of the year.
WE’RE GROWING! MEET THE NEWEST ADDITIONS TO THE AXIS/GFA TEAM
Building off recent success, and adding more momentum to our approach to increase our capacity following our merger earlier this year, AXIS/GFA is proud to introduce four new team members to our San Francisco studio. With the addition of this experienced new talent to our team, we look forward to delivering an even more collaborative and responsive level of service and increased depth of expertise to our clients and industry partners.
An addition to AXIS/GFA’s San Francisco studio this spring, Jiyuan joins the team as a recent graduate of the University of Pennsylvania’s Penndesign Master of Architecture Post Professional Degree Program. As part of his experience at UPenn, Jiyuan’s work was selected as part of the Penndesign Year End Show in both 2016 and 2017. Included in his portfolio are a number of designs selected for publication in ASSET ARCHITECTURE, as well an Autodesk Revit National Student Competition in Sustainable Architectural Design Honorable Mention from the Architectural Association of China. Prior to joining AXIS/GFA Jiyuan gained valuable commercial architecture experience at several firms in China and the USA.
Joining AXIS/GFA earlier this spring, Tom complements our San Francisco office as one of our newest Job Captains. Prior to joining AXIS/GFA, Tom worked for EHDD Architecture in San Francisco and Büro Ole Scheeren in Beijing. Having graduated from the University of Minnesota with a B.A. in Architecture, and from the University of Michigan with a Master of Architecture, Tom was the recipient of U-M’s Thesis Prize for his graduate work.
Outside of architecture, Tom is a novice potter fueled by his passion for making and inspired by his love for ceramics.
Bringing over 20 years of design and team leadership experience to AXIS/GFA, Boris joins the San Francisco studio in the role of Senior Designer. With experience at a number of California-based firms, Boris has established himself as a specialist in the design of hospitality, retail and commercial, mixed-use, and institutional projects.
With a number of awards to his credit, Boris is an alumnus of the Moscow School of Architecture in Russia.
After eight years at San Francisco architecture firm EHDD, Matt joins AXIS/GFA as a Senior Project Manager. Matt received architecture degrees from the University of Michigan, and continued his studies in Germany and Japan where he gained an appreciation for high-performance design and efficiency. Committed to educating the next generation of young architects, Matt serves as guest design critic for Bay Area architecture schools.
When not at the office Matt enjoys exploring the globe with his travel buddy and husband Tucker.
PROJECT ANNOUNCEMENT: CONSTRUCTION UNDERWAY ON AXIS/GFA’S LATEST HOTEL RENOVATION PROJECT, THE FAIRFIELD INN & SUITES BY MARRIOTT CAMARILLO
The transformation of the former Holiday Inn Express into a new Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott is well underway in Camarillo, California. The construction phase started this spring with the demolition of the exterior facades of the original forty-year-old structure, starting with the removal of the original dated and deep-set residential-oriented balconies. The new design takes cues from Camarillo’s adoption of a Spanish Mission influenced “Heritage District”, characterized by clean lines and white stucco, and accented by a central tower, contrasting color bands, and Juliet balconies.
PROJECT ANNOUNCEMENT: DESIGN UNDERWAY ON THE COURTYARD BY MARRIOTT PALO ALTO AND AC HOTELS BY MARRIOTT PALO ALTO
Design is now underway on two new AXIS/GFA hotel projects – the dual-branded Courtyard by Marriott Palo Alto and the AC by Marriott Palo Alto. Boasting 151 rooms and 143 rooms respectively in two adjacent new-build five-story buildings, both properties will be designed by AXIS/GFA’s Los Angeles studio for T2 Development. With approval from the Palo Alto City Council on June 12 this year, AXIS/GFA is already underway with schematic design and interior programming on the projects. A construction date has not been announced.
COURTYARD BY MARRIOTT SANTA MONICA AND HAMPTON INN & SUITES BY HILTON SANTA MONICA CELEBRATE THEIR OFFICIAL GRAND OPENINGS
As executive architects on the project, and led by AXIS/GFA’s Los Angeles-based architectural design team, AXIS/GFA yesterday joined representatives from OTO Development and executives from Marriott Hotels and Hilton Hotels at the grand opening of two of AXIS/GFA’s latest hotel projects: the Courtyard by Marriott Santa Monica, and the Hampton Inn & Suites by Hilton Santa Monica. Marking the end of a nearly-three-year and highly collaborative project, the opening of the two new hotels marks one of the more significant milestones in the reconceptualization of Santa Monica’s downtown core.
Paying homage to design architect Gwynne Pugh Urban Studios’ design for the two buildings, the grand opening welcomed local dignitaries, media, and project partners with an elegantly understated “coastal” theme. Joining AXIS/GFA and GP-US at the ribbon cutting were project interior designers Studio HBA, and lighting designers Illuminate.
Congratulations to OTO Development, Marriott Hotels, and Hilton Hotels on the launch of their two latest properties. Our thanks and credit to each of the project’s partners for their amazing work on the project.
SNEAK PEEK: AXIS/GFA’S COURTYARD BY MARRIOTT SANTA MONICA AND HAMPTON INN & SUITES BY HILTON SANTA MONICA HOTEL PROJECTS OFFICIALLY OPEN
Formal project announcements will land in your inboxes in the coming weeks, but as a Praxis subscriber we’re proud to announce to you first that our latest hotel projects, the Courtyard by Marriott Santa Monica and the Hampton Inn & Suites by Hilton Santa Monica, celebrated their official grand openings this week. Both owned and developed by OTO Development, and in partnership with Gwynne Pugh Urban Studios as the design architect, these two new hotels launch as the new unofficial gateway to downtown Santa Monica’s revitalized 5th Street and Colorado Avenue hub.
With the Courtyard by Marriott Santa Monica, AXIS/GFA’s executive architect design includes 136 rooms through six stories and features a second-story pool deck that pays homage to Santa Monica’s legendary laid-back el fresco Southern Californian lifestyle. On the opposite street corner, and serving as a complimentary but unique in its own right counterpart to the Courtyard hotel is the Hampton Inn & Suites by Hilton Santa Monica hotel. Also a six-story building, the Hampton Inn & Suites’ design adds an additional 143 select service rooms to the underserved downtown Santa Monica market. Both properties are managed by Interstate. Credit to Studio HBA for their interior design expertise.
SNEAK PEEK: THE AXIS/GFA DESIGNED HAMPTON INN & SUITES LOS ANGELES/HOLLYWOOD HOTEL NEARING COMPLETION
Once again, a dedicated project announcement will follow in the coming weeks, but in the meantime, AXIS/GFA is proud to announce their Hampton Inn & Suites Los Angeles/Hollywood project will soft-launch later this summer.
Located on Vine Street north of Santa Monica Boulevard in Los Angeles, this new-build five-story 112-room hotel was conceived as the catalyst for the redevelopment of the Vine Street commercial strip, and is part of a neighborhood master plan to draw new tourism and business operations to the area. Core to the hotel’s design is a street front café strategically situated to allow the hotel to engage the sidewalk public space and to provide a visual connection between the street and the hotel’s lobby.
MEET AXIS/GFA ARCHITECTURE + DESIGN
Merger of AXIS/GFA Architecture + Design and Gene Fong Associates officially completes, launching California’s newest hospitality and multi-family architectural design firm
Following the official merger of San Francisco’s AXIS/GFA Architecture + Design and LA’s Gene Fong Associates earlier this quarter, California’s newest hospitality and multi-family architectural design firm has hit the ground running. Combining each firm’s strengths and adding new capacity to complement each studio’s portfolio of clients and projects, the new firm – AXIS/GFA Architecture + Design – is already humming with a number of new projects soon to be announced in the coming weeks.
The benefits for our clients and industry partners
For clients and industry partners of both firms, the AXIS/GFA merger represents an opportunity for us to deliver an even more collaborative and responsive level of client service, and increases further the depth of expertise we can provide.
- Western US reach – Now covering the Western US and Hawaii from our San Francisco and Los Angeles offices, AXIS/GFA has the increased reach to support projects in more locations than ever before.
- Expanded hospitality and multi-family residential capabilities – Complementing each other’s signature segments, AXIS/GFA offers an even deeper level of expertise in our core hospitality and multifamily architecture segments. From new builds to renovations and repositioning, AXIS/GFA has the expanded expertise and capability to support your project.
- A shared focus on our people – A shared strategic difference for both AXIS and GFA is the investment we make in growing our people. It’s their passion and creative problem solving that brings your projects to life.
For regular readers of AXIS’ former AXIS Praxis newsletter some exciting changes are in store, including the addition of news from our new Los Angeles office and a simplified new name for the newsletter: The Praxis. For friends of the former Gene Fong Associates, welcome!
For Praxis readers who may have missed our official announcement, visit our dedicated page at www.axisgfa.com/merger.
AXIS/GFA-DESIGNED HOTEL WINS BEST CUSTOM PROJECT AWARD AT MARRIOTT CONNECT 2017 CONFERENCE
Early in May, AXIS/GFA Principal Architects Cory Creath and Gene Fong attended Connect 2017 – Marriott Hotels’ private conference hosting exclusively Marriott hotel owners, operators, and key stakeholders of Marriott’s ten select service brands. With AXIS/GFA’s notable portfolio of Marriott-branded hospitality design projects, Cory and Gene’s participation at Connect 2017 was particularly insightful.
As part of the conference’s program, Marriott awarded a number of awards for operational excellence and innovation in design. Included among the award winners was T2 Development, winning the award for Best Custom Project for their Marriott Residence Inn at Anaheim Resort, a nine story 294 room extended stay hotel project designed by AXIS/GFA Architecture + Design. Not shy of embracing their reputation for thinking outside of the box, Marriott’s “trophy” for T2 Development and the AXIS/GFA design was a massive four square foot Lego scale model of the Marriott Residence Inn at Anaheim.
The entire team at AXIS/GFA Architecture + Design thank Marriott for the recognition. Congratulations to T2 Development, SANDdesign for their interior design expertise, and to all of the other project partners who helped make the project a success!
For more information and images of AXIS/GFA’s design of the Marriott Residence Inn at Anaheim, visit the project page in our Hospitality portfolio.
For an insider’s point of view on Marriott Connect 2017, be sure to visit our blog.
PROJECT ANNOUNCEMENTS – AXIS/GFA RETAINED FOR THE DESIGN OF TWO NEW HOTEL PROJECTS
King Kalakaua Plaza Hotel project in Honolulu, Hawaii and the Marriott Residence Inn project in Lancaster, California added to AXIS/GFA’s active project roster
AXIS/GFA Architecture + Design has been awarded the King Kalakaua Plaza Hotel project in Honolulu, Hawaii. Located within the high-end retail area on Kalakaua Avenue, the project is anticipated to be seven stories accommodating 225 extended stay rooms near Waikiki Beach.
As well, AXIS/GFA has been awarded the Marriott Residence Inn project in Lancaster, California. Scheduled to begin construction at the beginning of 2018 the project is anticipated to be five stories accommodating 105 rooms in the center of revitalized downtown Lancaster. The project will feature a double height lobby, rooftop pool, and meeting space catering to the aerospace industries’ business clientele.
SNEAK PEAK: AXIS/GFA’S LATEST HOTEL PROJECT, HAMPTON INN & SUITES LAX EL SEGUNDO, OFFICIALLY OPENED
Although the formal announcement will circulate later this summer, as a Praxis subscriber we’re proud to announce to you first that our latest hotel project, the Hampton Inn & Suites LAX El Segundo, has opened for business.
Managed by OTO Development, the 171-room hotel joins other AXIS/GFA hotel developments in the area. Additional and official photography to follow shortly. For now, stay tuned to AXIS/GFA’s Twitter and Facebook feeds for the official announcement in the coming weeks.
AXIS/GFA-DESIGNED HEALDSBURG SUITES HOTEL BEGINS CONSTRUCTION
Construction on the AXIS/GFA designed Healdsburg Suites Hotel recently commenced. Located in the heart ofSonoma Valley wine country, the hotel will feature 126 guestrooms in a new four-story hotel.
For the latest status on the project, be sure to visit R.D. Olson Construction’s building site webcam here. For more details on AXIS/GFA’s design of the Healdsburg Suites Hotel, visit the project page in our Hospitality portfolio.
CONGRATULATIONS ATHENA! AXIS/GFA Architecture + Design’S ATHENA CHRISTODOULATOS PROMOTED TO ASSOCIATE
AXIS/GFA Architecture + Design is pleased to announce the promotion of its beloved Marketing and Business Development Coordinator (and de facto Office Manager) Athena Christodoulatos to the position of Associate.
Having joined AXIS five years ago this spring, Athena has become an indispensable part of AXIS’ day-to-day operations. Recently adding marketing coordination and business development to her daily docket, Athena’s cheerful and can-do approach to her duties has had a positive impact on the AXIS team and client partners alike.
SNEAK PEAK: AXIS’ LATEST HOTEL RENOVATION PROJECT, THE FAIRFIELD INN & SUITES LAX AT EL SEGUNDO, OFFICIALLY LAUNCHING THIS SPRING
Although the formal announcement will circulate later this spring, as an AXIS Praxis subscriber we’re proud to announce to you first that our latest hotel renovation project, the Fairfield Inn & Suites LAX at El Segundo, will officially launch later this spring.
With its soft-launch at the end of 2016, and as the second phase of one of AXIS’ largest hotel renovation projects completed in coordination with our earlier Aloft El Segundo project, the Fairfield Inn & Suites LAX at El Segundo features 185 renovated guestrooms, refreshed meeting spaces, a new and completely redesigned lobby, as well as an updated fitness area, pool, breakfast area, and kitchen.
PROJECT ANNOUNCEMENT – AXIS/GFA Architecture + Design RETAINED BY FULTON AVENUE VENTURES FOR THE DESIGN OF A NEW MIXED-USE CONDOMINIUM PROJECT
AXIS/GFA Architecture + Design is pleased to announce it has been retained by Fulton Avenue Ventures as the Architect of Record for the design of a new build mixed-use condominium development in Koreatown, Los Angeles. Featuring 166 residential units with a mix of studios and one and two bedroom suites over six floors, the development will include ground floor commercial and retail space as well as a fitness center, pool, and other amenities.
ON THE AXIS BLOG REVIEW
Featuring a summary of the latest additions to our On The AXIS Blog. Be sure to visit regularly for the latest industry insights and news from the AXIS team.
“PLEASE STAND BY…” – EMBRACING UNCERTAINTY AT ALIS 2017
At the end of January a small contingent of AXIS staffers and I attended the 2017 installment of the Americas Lodging Investment Summit. In addition to being recognized as one of the foremost gatherings of names in hotel and hospitality investment, the summit enjoys the enviable timing as one of the earliest perennial events on the industry’s calendar – a position that naturally makes the summit one of the best bellwethers of the health of the industry for the coming year. As regular readers of our On the AXIS Blog will recall, many in the industry spent much of 2016 contemplating the timing of the end of the current cycle – a topic that more-or-less dominated the conversation at last year’s ALIS event. Back then, industry prognosticators had already started to sense the impending wind-down of the current cycle. Twelve months later, and with no clear or prevailing opinion how the end of this cycle might play out (but no shortage of experts continuing to tell us the end is near), stakeholders are understandably growing tired of hearing of impending doom. With 2016 ending without a satisfying answer to the question “Where’s the peak?“, the prevailing attitude among attendees of the 2017 summit seemed best captured as, “Who cares. Let’s get on with business.“
THE VILLAS & SUITES AT BERNARDUS LODGE AND SPA, AN AXIS HOSPITALITY ARCHITECTURAL PROJECT, OFFICIALLY OPENS NEW SUITES
As part of the second phase of development and renovation at the Forbes Five Star resort, the Bernardus Lodge & Spa in Carmel Valley recently launched 14 new exclusive guest lodgings crafted from the ground up, each architecturally designed by AXIS/GFA Architecture + Design. San Francisco’s Arcsine Inc. provided interior design expertise on the project.
Following a comprehensive 2015 architectural redesign of the guestroom wing, the addition of 14 guest lodges adds to the destination’s exclusive room offerings. Perennially recognized amongst Travel and Leisure Magazine’s “World’s Best Hotels”, and Conde Nast Traveler’s “Top Hotels”, The Villas & Suites at Bernardus Lodge & Spa adds to AXIS/GFA Architecture + Design’s portfolio of successful luxury hospitality projects.
An in depth and dedicated project announcement will follow in the coming weeks; watch your inbox for the formal announcement and complete project imagery.
CONSTRUCTION BEGINS ON AXIS/GFA Architecture + Design’S LATEST HOTEL ARCHITECTURAL DESIGN PROJECT – THE COURTYARD BY MARRIOTT IN SANTA CRUZ
With groundbreaking late last month, AXIS/GFA Architecture + Design is pleased to announce construction has commenced on one of the firm’s latest hotel architectural design projects – the Courtyard by Marriott in Santa Cruz, California.
Building from-the-ground-up in the footprint previously occupied by three budget hotels, AXIS’ design for the Courtyard by Marriott will ultimately incorporate 150 guestrooms spanning four floors, all framed by decorative arches, domes, and balustrades in keeping with the aesthetic of the nearby Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk.
The development for San Jose’s Lotus Management Inc. is planned to open in the spring of 2018. Watch our On The AXIS Blog the latest project updates.
CORY CREATH, AXIS PRINCIPAL ARCHITECT, SPEAKS AT THE LODGING CONFERENCE 2016
Marking his third annual appearance as an invited speaker, AXIS Principal Architect Cory Creath participated as an expert panelist at the recent Lodging Conference 2016. Speaking in previous years on the issues of generational design and hotel design for operational profitability, Cory’s 2016 session was titled “Reposition Your Hotel for Success”. Moderated by Russell C. Savrann, Partner at Sandman Savrann PLLC, the session examined the design and business factors that influence hotel repositioning projects. Our thanks to everyone who was able to attend.
ON THE AXIS BLOG REVIEW
Featuring a summary of the latest additions to our On The AXIS Blog. Be sure to visit regularly for the latest industry insights and news from the AXIS team.
“REPOSITION YOUR HOTEL FOR SUCCESS” – A LOOK AHEAD AT AXIS’ LODGING CONFERENCE 2016 PANEL DISCUSSION
Later this afternoon I’ll once again have the honor of participating as an expert panelist at one of the most anticipated events on the hospitality industry’s event calendar – The Lodging Conference 2016. This year marks my 13th consecutive year attending the event, and my third year as a speaker and panelist at the conference. Given AXIS’ notability as one of America’s most active hotel renovation architectural firms, it wasn’t entirely surprising to discover that I had been invited to participate in the “Reposition Your Hotel for Success” panel. To quote the session abstract: “Take a fresh look at your hotel as experts help you re-evaluate a property’s position and implement the most productive and cost effective changes.”
FIRST LOOK: ANNOUNCING THE RENOVATED ALOFT EL SEGUNDO HOTEL BY AXIS/GFA Architecture + Design
AXIS/GFA Architecture + Design is pleased to reveal the first look at the renovated Aloft El Segundo at LAX. Culminating nearly 3 years of renovation and development as part of the $20 million project, AXIS/GFA Architecture + Design recently completed work on the 246 loft-style room hotel owned by Rubicon Hotel Investors LLC and operated by Aimbridge Hospitality. Design Atelier provided interior design expertise.
As the design architect and the architect of record for the renovation, AXIS directed the re-flagging of a 600 room independent hotel known as the Hacienda Hotel built in the early 1960’s. AXIS converted the standalone south tower and added a distinctive new 2-story lobby building that contains signature Aloft brand elements including an WXYZ Bar and Refresh grab-and-go food retailer. This hospitality architectural project included developing a lobby-level deck overlooking the pool below, and creating an inviting, relaxing oasis that takes advantage of the ideal Southern California climate.
For more on the project visit AXIS/GFA Architecture + Design’s project page at http://axisonline.net/portfolios/renovation/aloft-el-segundo-hotel-renovation/. For high resolution images visit https://goo.gl/kkDjxV. Download the complete press release here.
AXIS/GFA Architecture + Design CO-NOMINATED FOR A HOSPITALITY DESIGN MAGAZINE HD AWARD
Having recently worked together on the newly opened Kimpton Buchanan Hotel, AXIS/GFA Architecture + Design was co-nominated for a Hospitality Design Magazine HD Award alongside interior design firm NICOLEHOLLIS this June. The pair of firms were nominated for their work on the San Franciscan boutique hotel in the Lifestyle Guestrooms or Suites category. AXIS was the Architect of Record for the project.
Describing the finished Buchanan Hotel from Kimpton’s website: “This unique neighborhood pied-a-terre was erected upon the footprint of the existing Hotel Tomo; its 131 guest rooms now emanate the warmth and style of a chic, urban apartment. The Buchanan provides an urban respite, laced with a sophisticated, sultry design scheme and echoing the neighborhood influence with artful elements of Japanese culture. The residential experience now features a stylish whiskey lounge-inspired lobby with a stunning 40-foot-long glass chandelier, spacious guestrooms, small boardrooms, and a quiet, local experience for savvy travelers looking to explore the city beyond its tourist traps.”
Despite not claiming the final prize, AXIS would like to congratulate NICOLEHOLLIS for their amazing work on the project!
AXIS/GFA Architecture + Design IN THE NEWS
Several of AXIS’ recent projects are gaining media attention!
With our First Look: The Renovated Aloft El Segundo Hotel By AXIS/GFA Architecture + Design press release circulated late last month, Hospitality Design Magazine recently featured AXIS’ design of the new Aloft hotel on their website.
And although not yet formally launched, 3Sixty, the feature restaurant and bar in the soon-to-be-completed and formally announced Hyatt Regency SFO hotel renovation project was highlighted in a recent San Francisco Business Times article.
For more on both of these articles, and to see many of AXIS’ recent projects published and announced in the media, visit AXIS’In The News section on our website.
AXIS/GFA Architecture + Design RETAINED BY JAI JINENDRA INVESTMENTS LLC FOR NEW HOTEL RENOVATION PROJECT
AXIS/GFA Architecture + Design, noted North American hotel and hospitality architectural firm, is pleased to announce it’s been retained by Jai Jinendra Investments LLC for the renovation and repositioning of the Comfort Inn Hotel located at 3945 El Camino Real in Palo Alto, California.
As part of the hotel renovation, AXIS will oversee the architectural redesign of the three story wood framed structure and its 70 guest rooms, originally built in the 1960’s. The hotel will be flagged as an Ascend Hotel.
ON THE AXIS BLOG REVIEW
Featuring a summary of the latest additions to our On The AXIS Blog. Be sure to visit regularly for the latest industry insights and news from the AXIS team.
Earlier in June I had the pleasure of representing AXIS/GFA Architecture + Design at the 2016 NYU International Hospitality Industry Investment Conference. In my previous On The AXIS Blog post titled Three Themes to Expect at NYU IHIIC 2016, I point out how this event regularly acts as a bellwether for the hospitality industry for the coming year. To bookend that post, the 2016 event did indeed yield a number of notable take-aways, and if the NYU IHIIC holds true to its history, here’s what we can expect in the coming quarters. READ THE FULL POST HERE.
SNEAK PEAK: AXIS’ LATEST HOTEL RENOVATION PROJECT, THE HYATT REGENCY SAN FRANCISCO AT EMBARCADERO, OFFICIALLY LAUNCHING THIS SPRING
Although the formal announcement is expected later in April, as an AXIS Praxis subscriber we’re proud to announce to you first that our latest hotel renovation project, the Hyatt Regency San Francisco at Embarcadero, will officially launch in the coming weeks.
Completed in coordination with designers Looney and Associates, the renovation of the hotel’s lobby, reception area, and atrium delivered new and immersive public lounging spaces, and created new food and beverage retail opportunities in previously empty and underutilized reception spaces.
AXIS IS HITTING THE ROAD! UPCOMING EVENTS AND CONFERENCES IN OUR CALENDAR
With the turn of the season we once again find ourselves with a calendar full of exciting and highly anticipated hospitality and architectural design-focused conferences and events on our spring and summer docket.
Member of the AXIS/GFA Architecture + Design team will be hitting the road and attending the following events in the coming months; if you’re attending any of these industry events as well, be sure to reach out to us – we’d love to connect with you!
- HD-EXPO – Las Vegas
- May 4-6
- Join AXIS Principals Cory Creath and Rory Carroll, as well as AXIS’ Athena Christodoulatos
- City of Hope Fundraiser – San Francisco
- May 18
- Join AXIS Principal Architect Cory Creath
- NYU International Hospitality Industry Investment Conference – New York
- June 5-7
- Join AXIS Principal Architect Cory Creath
- Pacific Coast Builders Conference (PCBC) – San Francisco
- June 21-23
- Join AXIS Principal Architect Cory Creath
- The Lodging Conference – Phoenix
- September 26-29
- Join AXIS Principals Cory Creath and Rory Carroll, as well as AXIS’ Athena Christodoulatos. Plus, don’t miss Cory’s participation on one of the Conference’s expert panels (topic to be announced shortly)
NEW PROJECT ANNOUNCED!
AXIS/GFA Architecture + Design has been retained by Seaview Hotel Investors to design the new Healdsburg Suites Hotel in Healdsburg, California, gateway to the Sonoma County wine region. Be sure to visit AXIS’ Twitter and Facebook feeds for our first conceptual images in the coming weeks.
ON THE AXIS BLOG REVIEW
The “Super Bowl Effect” On Hotel Development – Can A One-Time Event Drive Hotel Investment And Development?
Super Bowl 50, co-hosted last month in AXIS’ backyard in San Francisco and Santa Clara, California, by many measures delivered a significant economic benefit to businesses of all stripes in the Bay Area. The extent of that benefit, however, is a matter of debate, with even the Super Bowl 50 Host Committee admitting they aren’t certain what the local economic impact was, suggesting the benefit could have been anywhere between $200 million and $700 million. Whatever the actual number, most of the analysis examining how those millions of dollars changed hands focused myopically on the brief 168 hours that made up Super Bowl Week. It’s easy to imagine how retail businesses could capitalize on such a brief and intense burst of spending, but for a company like AXIS/GFA Architecture + Design, whose hotel and hospitality architectural projects span years from conception to completion, could a 7-day event like the Super Bowl have an effect on our business? Could a one-time event actually have an impact on a market’s hotel development pipeline? READ THE FULL POST HERE.
SNEAK PEAK: AXIS’ LATEST PROJECT, THE AXIOM HOTEL IN SAN FRANCISCO, LAUNCHING OFFICIALLY IN THE COMING WEEKS
The official announcement is yet to be made, but as a subscriber to The AXIS Praxis we’re proud to announce exclusively to you that our latest project, the Axiom Hotel in San Francisco, will officially launch in the coming weeks.
AXIS/GFA Architecture + Design was retained by Host Hotels and Resorts to assist with the repositioning and renovation of the Powell Hotel – a property strategically located at the historic cable car turnaround where Powell Street meets Market Street in the heart of San Francisco’s booming Mid-Market Neighborhood. The result of the 24 month 75,000 square foot project is the recently opened Axiom Hotel, a stylish 155 room upscale boutique hotel. With a vision of marrying the historic elements of the original hotel with modern guest amenities, the project’s scope included a seismic upgrade to the 110-year-old structure, and a “gut” remodel of the guest rooms with all new guest bathrooms and walk-in showers. The lobby and mezzanine levels were also transformed with comfortable lounge areas and a new cafe/bar. The basement level now houses a fitness room, flexible meeting rooms, a full production kitchen, back of house support, and a future nightclub venue. The project will achieve LEED Silver designation for its overall energy efficiency. Interior design was provided by Stonehill & Taylor. The general contractor was Reno. Owner’s representation was by JLL.
CORY CREATH, AXIS PRINCIPAL ARCHITECT, ANNOUNCED AS A SPEAKER AT LODGING CONFERENCE 2016
For the third consecutive year, AXIS/GFA Architecture + Design Principal Architect Cory Creath will return as a panelist and subject matter expert at The Lodging Conference 2016, held once again this September at The Arizona Biltmore Hotel. The Conference, recognized as one of the largest hotel and hospitality industry events on the calendar, perennially sells out, drawing over 3,000 of the industry’s executives, leaders in design, investors, and owners.
In previous years Cory has provided expert insight on a variety of topics including hotel and hospitality renovation best practices, and the latest in hospitality design trends. The topic for Cory’s 2016 panel is yet to be released, but stay tuned to our Twitter and Facebook feeds for news as it develops.
ON THE AXIS BLOG REVIEW
An Architect’s Perspective – The 3 Hospitality Development Opportunities Highlighted at ALIS 2016 – by Cory Creath
In late January, members of the AXIS/GFA Architecture + Design team and I made our annual pilgrimage to The Americas Lodging Investment Summit (ALIS), this year held in Los Angeles. The Summit, recognized as the largest hotel and hospitality investment conference in the world, draws many of the most notable and knowledgeable personalities in the hospitality investment industry, many of whom provide the insightful data and industry perspectives companies like AXIS find useful for plotting our strategies for the coming year.
In the lead-up to the Summit’s kick-off the informal hallway chitchat echoed the event’s official theme – “Where’s the Peak?” Undoubtedly, attendees were approaching this year’s event with slightly more apprehension than seen in previous years – and who could blame them; the hospitality industry has been decidedly undecided whether the robust growth seen in recent years has reasons to continue, or whether the gloomy signals on the horizon are indicative of a coming change in the market. For attendees hoping ALIS would settle the debate, the Summit’s key takeaway likely left them unsatisfied. The overwhelming forecast? Cautious growth, but continue to prepare for the market to soften…sometime. When exactly, we’re not sure, and by how much, we can’t tell.
AXIS/GFA Architecture + Design A FEATURED SPONSOR AT THE LODGING CONFERENCE 2015
Billed as one of the largest annual collections of hotel and lodging industry influencers, The Lodging Conference 2015 wrapped earlier this month with AXIS/GFA Architecture + Design once again featured as a notable sponsor.
This year, AXIS upped its engagement with the hotel and lodging industry executive attendees by hosting its own Welcome Reception, held on the evening immediately prior to the conference’s marquis Poolside Cocktail Party kick-off event. With canapes, cocktails, and conversation the focus of AXIS’ reception, AXIS’ Principal Architects Cory Creath and Rory Carroll and AXIS’ Office Manager Athena Christodoulatos hosted reception guests.
Thanks to everyone who joined us! Looking forward to seeing you all in 2016!
CORY CREATH, AXIS PRINCIPAL ARCHITECT, PRESENTS AT THE LODGING CONFERENCE 2015
Speaking to a packed room on the first day of The Lodging Conference 2015, AXIS Principal Architect Cory Creath addressed attendees of the conference as an expert panelist for the second year in a row during this year’s “Smart Design” panel. Addressing topics spanning economy through luxury segments, Cory’s panel discussed the latest ecologically sustainable, lasting, and profitable designs in the hospitality industry. With AXIS/GFA Architecture + Design participating as a noted expert in the hospitality renovation space, Cory’s input highlighted smart design possibilities through the reorganization and repurposing of existing spaces and facilities. Thanks to Jeffery Weinstein, HOTELS Magazine Editor-In-Chief for moderating the session.
AXIS/GFA Architecture + Design PROUDLY UNVEILS THEIR LATEST HOTEL RENOVATION PROJECT – ALOFT SUNNYVALE
Culminating a two-year renovation project for the hospitality real estate development firm Shashi Group, AXIS/GFA Architecture + Design announced this month the completion of their most recent hotel renovation project – Aloft Sunnyvale. The completed project represents the second hotel AXIS has designed and overseen for Shashi Group.
Initially approached in late 2013, AXIS was charged with advising Shashi Group on a renovation of the 108 room wood frame Pacific Inn, originally built in 1968, and updated in 1986. The project goal was to update the look and feel of the property without spending more money on the renovation than necessary.
For the guest spaces, rooms in the 1968 wing were enlarged, and modern guest bathrooms were added to each. In the 1986 wing, each room was updated with a completely redesigned bath featuring modern fixtures and tub-to-shower conversions. In both wings rooms were updated with hardwood flooring inspired by Silicon Valley’s modern and simple style, as well as with new and energy efficient air conditioning units.
In the hotel’s public spaces a new bar to replace the aged and underutilized buffet compliments a new and inviting front desk. In response to the demands of Silicon Valley’s active millennial visitors, a new fitness center was added to the first floor. On the exterior, anachronistic decorative beams, planters, and canopies were removed and replaced with sleek and modern architectural features consistent with the modern style now flowing throughout the interior. Dramatic exterior lighting was added to enhance the hotel’s image in the community.
Delivering Shashi’s ambitious vision also required modifying the hotel’s structure. In the lobby, the original one-story space was dramatically redesigned with the removal of a number of walls and the floor immediately above the entranceway. The result was a two-story lobby with floor-to-ceiling windows creating exposure and dramatic nighttime views into the hotel lobby bar. To bridge the outdoor and indoor spaces the lobby was extended to the updated rear courtyard, enhancing the lobby’s ambiance, but also creating a more efficient guest check-in/out experience. The larger and more open lobby also created new space for previously impossible retail opportunities.
For more on AXIS/GFA Architecture + Design’s renovation of Shashi Group’s Aloft Sunnyvale project, including images of the hotel renovation, visit http://axisonline.net/press-release/axis-architecture-design-unveils-latest-hotel-renovation-aloft-sunnyvale.
AXIS/GFA Architecture + Design WINS ARCHITECTURE AT ZERO’S ZERO NET ENERGY DESIGN COMPETITION
Selected ahead of 30 other submissions, The American Institute of Architecture, California Council, and PG&E announced this month AXIS/GFA Architecture + Design as the Professional Category Citation Award Winner at the fifth annual Architecture at Zero, Zero Net Energy Building Design Competition. AXIS was awarded the distinction for their design, “Alveo.”
Judged by a distinguished panel of architecture, engineering, and design experts, this year’s competition challenged entrants with the design of a hypothetical mixed use and multi-family residential building at the University of California Mission Bay Campus. Paramount for each submission was the requirement that each proposed building be a Zero Net Energy building, producing at least as much clean or renewable energy as it uses over the course of a year when accounted for at site level.
“Addressing the challenge of designing buildings with reduced energy requirements is something we’ve embraced at AXIS,” states Cory Creath, Principal Architect at AXIS/GFA Architecture + Design. “From our hotel projects to our multi-family architectural designs, reducing energy use simply makes good business sense. That said, designing a building of this scale with zero net energy usage was a notable challenge,” Creath continued. Creath credits AXIS’ innovative and efficient use of space, its integration of progressive and responsive control technologies, and the use of the latest recycled and renewable building materials for their design’s success. Leading AXIS’ design was AXIS’ Byung Kang, with Jiamin Liang lending significant support.
For more on AXIS/GFA Architecture + Design’s submission visit www.axisonline.net/press-release/axis-wins-architecture-at-zero-design-competition/. For more on Architecture at Zero and the Zero net Energy Building Competition visit www.architectureatzero.com.
INTRODUCING THE AXIS PRAXIS
praxis (ˈpraksəs’) noun 1. Theory put into practice. 2. The application of expertise or skill.
With this inaugural edition, AXIS/GFA Architecture + Design is proud to announce the launch of our new monthly email newsletter, The AXIS Praxis. Sharing the latest news from the AXIS team and office, as well as providing a regular source of interesting informational tidbits and commentary on the architectural and design industries, look forward to The AXIS Praxis landing in your inbox near the beginning of every month. Missed an edition? We’ll be archiving all of our The AXIS Praxis newsletters here on our website every month.
AXIS LAUNCHES ITS NEW WEBSITE AND SOCIAL MEDIA FEEDS
With a fresh new focus featuring the iconic imagery of our architectural design, the team at AXIS/GFA Architecture + Design is extremely proud to announce the launch of our new website, now live at www.axisonline.net. Nearly half a year in development, the new site’s image-centric aesthetic and simple functionality makes our web presence more representative of the character of the architecture AXIS/GFA Architecture + Design has come to be renown for, and lets many of our award winning designs speak for themselves.
The site’s launch included the roll-out of a handful of entirely new channels for AXIS/GFA Architecture + Design too, including our On The AXIS Blog, our new Twitter feed, and the relaunching or our Facebook page. With our new On The AXIS Blog, we’ll be posting interesting, internally reflective, and continually updated content highlighting the latest goings-on from the AXIS team and the architectural industry at large.
RORY CARROLL, LEED AP, JOINS AXIS’ TEAM OF PRINCIPAL PARTNERS
AXIS/GFA Architecture + Design is pleased to announce long-time team member and design practitioner Rory Carroll as the newest partner of the noted hospitality and multi-family architectural firm. Rory now joins Principal Architects Cory Creath and Shawn Alexander as firm partners.
“From the start of his tenure with us both Shawn and I have valued his contributions to the firm,” states Cory Creath, echoing fellow Principal Architect Shawn Alexander on Rory’s value. “Not only is he technically adept, but as both our clients and our team can attest, he’s simply a great personality to add to any project mix.”
Rory Carroll’s growth as a young practitioner in the architecture profession mirrors closely the growth of AXIS as a firm that specializes in hospitality and multi-family residential design. He joined AXIS fresh out of UC Berkeley and quickly showed himself to be a solid contributor on his projects. His intellect makes him a problem solver who is capable of understanding what a given situation calls for and expeditiously finding appropriate solutions. His calm personality puts clients at ease when they realize that Rory has their needs in mind at all times. As a result, he has earned AXIS’ clients’ trust and respect, and is in high demand. Founding Principals Shawn Alexander and Cory Creath value the contributions that Rory has made to AXIS, are most excited to have him join the ranks of ownership, and look forward to many years of fruitful collaboration.
CORY CREATH, AXIS PRINCIPAL ARCHITECT, INVITED TO SPEAK AT THE 2015 LODGING CONFERENCE
Marking his second annual appearance as an invited speaker at what is recognized as one of the hospitality industry’s largest and most important industry events, AXIS Principal Architect Cory Creath will speak at The Lodging Conference 2015, held October 6-8 at Phoenix’s Arizona Biltmore Resort. Previously a panelist speaking on the issues of generational design and the effect of different age segments on hotel design, Cory’s 2015 session is titled “Smart Design”, and examines how design can influence sustainable, long-term growth and profitability for hotels and resorts. Keep an eye on our blog and Twitter and Facebook feeds for the latest.
ON THE AXIS BLOG REVIEW
“Everything is amazing!” and other challenges in hotel development – Thoughts on NYU Hospitality 2015 – by Cory Creath
Earlier in June I had the pleasure of representing AXIS/GFA Architecture + Design at the 2015 NYU International Hospitality Investment Conference. Now in its 37th year, the conference brings together some of the hospitality industry’s leading hotel, resort, and mixed use developers, investors, and financing leaders. As one of North America’s most prolific hotel architectural firms, the conference ranks high on the list of events AXIS looks forward to attending every year.
This year, a unanimous theme ran through all of the panels and sessions: “Everything is amazing!” Really, it didn’t matter what segment of the industry you were dealing in, or with whom you were chatting in the hallways and receptions between events – the sentiment was the same: “Business in the coming months and years is going to be amazing!” Property owners were giddy with the opportunities the promised influx of foreign investment was hoped to bring, while investors were smiling with the forecast of continuing-to-rise property values and evermore-relaxed lending criteria as banks gained more confidence in the wake of 2009.
Examining the Economics of Residence Hotel Development – June 29, 2015, by Cory Creath
Earlier this summer AXIS’ Twitter feed included a tweet linking to an article in Forbes Magazine pondering the boom in “residence hotel” development. Residence hotels – which blur the line between condominiums and hotels to the point where by all appearances residents are effectively living in a hotel – take many forms: from residential buildings simply providing amenities, staffs, and services indistinguishable from those found in today’s luxury hotels, to mixed-use buildings where residential units are peppered throughout an actual hotel. As you’d expect, hotel-styled living doesn’t come cheap, with the majority of hotel residences available only in the luxury residential segment, fetching multiple millions of dollars each, and in most cases, aligned only with the industry’s most posh luxury hotel brands.