Inside look at Hilton Garden Inn

Eric Olson, SBJ EditorTim O’Reilly was calm as can be days away from opening a $10 million Hilton Garden Inn.

“We think we’re going to be busy. You never know,” he says nonchalantly four days before opening, while giving our Springfield Business Journal group a behind-the-scenes tour.

Through O’Reilly Hospitality, it’s the first hotel O’Reilly has built from the ground up. The attorney-by-trade has three sizable remodels under his belt, namely the Doubletree with a Houlihan’s restaurant at Glenstone Avenue and Kearney Street.

On the south side, where the Hilton is a bookend anchor with another O’Reilly Houlihan’s at The Shoppes at James River, there’s a flurry of last-minute preparations for opening day March 15 – a Coors rep feverishly working behind the bar, Faith Technology crews feeding electrical wires through the ceiling and crews hammering dark wood panels next to a water feature that welcomes guests to the front desk.

“We picked March 15 a year and a half ago,” he says, referring to his general contractor, Killian Construction. “They’re right on the money.”

And in the middle of all this, O’Reilly, in his polo shirt and khakis on this Friday afternoon, talks slow and steady about the oversized exercise room, the saltwater pool, the full-service Pavilion Grill and the “shotgun suites” in the five-story, 125-room hotel.

Ever the businessman, O’Reilly is clearly pleased with the environmental components that are expected to save 40 percent of standard Hilton Garden Inn utility bills. Working toward Leadership in Environmental & Energy Design certification, the property employs a geothermal HVAC system of 42 400-foot wells, a rooftop of solar panels and low VOC paint.

“You take 40 percent of utilities over 10 years and it’s pretty dramatic,” he says.

O’Reilly’s done his part at the 15-acre Shoppes at James River, with Houlihan’s on the west end and Hilton on the east. Now, it’s up to Rankin Development Co. to secure tenants for the expanse of land in between. The developers tout an average household income of $72,000 within a three-mile radius.

If Academy Sports’ construction at James River Commons at Campbell Avenue and James River Freeway is any indication, perhaps national retailers are loosening up.

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