Shared from the 3/7/2019 Amarillo Globe News eEdition

O cials tout renovation

Groundbreaking represents transformation to The Barfield Hotel


The owners of the Barfield Hotel: DL Funderburgh, Christie Beyer and Jason Beyer, participate in Wednesday’s groundbreaking ceremony for the new downtown project. [NEIL STARKEY / FOR THE AMARILLO GLOBE-NEW])

Proclaiming the finished product to be a testament to luxury and comfort inviting to visitors and Amarillo locals alike, officials responsible for converting the historic Barfield Building into the Barfield Hotel conducted a groundbreaking on Wednesday inside the downtown structure.

Officials said the restoration, which is slated for completion in early 2020, is comprised of 10-story building with 112 rooms replete with cutting edge amenities while preserving the venue’s original character. The Barfield Building, which officials said was previously known as the M.D. Oliver-Eakle Building, was built by Melissa Dora Oliver-Eakle, also known as The Duchess, in 1926.

Oliver-Eakle is credited with designing the high rise to showcase hand laid mosaic tile, terrazzo floors, copper deco entry point canopies and original turn of the century artwork. Via Oliver-Eakle’s vision official said The Barfield became the center point for Panhandle commerce and business. Now the venue is under a transformation that will include an upscale steakhouse and 1,600 square feet of meeting space and the basement will feature a speakeasy officials said is designed to intrigue and spark conversation.

“This has been a long anticipated project,” Mayor Ginger Nelson said while addressing the assembly. “We’re all excited and part of the reason we’re excited is because we have a vision. We have a vision for what we want our city to be, we believe in it and invested in it. But now, Amarillo, others see it, believe in it and and are investing in it. I’m just thrilled to see this building come back to life and see it be something vibrant and exciting.”

Ryan Eshelman, of Oklahoma City-based GSB, Inc. said the firm recognizes bringing a boutique hotel to downtown Amarillo is a huge opportunity.

“And to breathe new life into this remarkable facility is exciting,” he said. “We wanted to focus on capitalizing on the building’s unique assets, making it inviting to the visitors and Amarillo locals alike. This hotel will acknowledge where Amarillo has been, but also looks forward regarding where Amarillo is going. After so many years of talking about it and drawing, now there’s dust flying and work is underway. We look forward to seeing the community embrace it.”

Coury Hospitality of Kansas City, Missouri, has been charged with project’s hotel management and operations responsibilities, noting the Barfield Hotel will be part of the Marriott’s Autograph Collection.

“It’s real exciting to see this happen,” Coury Hospitality Founder and CEO Paul Coury said. “We have 12 hotels in various communities open or underway. Autograph is a soft brand and Marriott launched this about eight years ago. They would find developers like myself that had products that were well curated and told a story. Historical buildings tell a story, so you can build a brand around the building, around the DNA of the person who put in the history and the lore. We come in and bring that back to life.”

Dan Quandt, Amarillo Convention & Visitor Council senior vice president, said Amarillo has a dynamic hospitality industry and the easiest way to get noticed, either in business or by yourself, is to stand out.

“The Barfield is designed to do exactly that,” he said. “The amenities are going to make this a very special, classy facility. But the totally unique aspect of the Barfield is that it’s being designed, built and marketed around the personality - the Duchess, Melissa Dora Oliver-Eakle. The Barfield is the right thing for our community right now and our office is very excited to add this to our collection of almost 700 hotel rooms.”

As an Amarillo native, Center City of Amarillo, Inc. Executive Director Beth Duke said the restoration initiative also possesses sentimental value.

“The exciting part to me is this is giving a wonderful old building a brand new life,” she said.

“And that is what Center City loves to be a part of. This building has a lot of personal meaning to me and in our downtown every building to me has a story. It’s my privilege to be here today to see this amazing building get a new life. This day is just as historic as it was when M.D. Oliver-Eakle made it happen.”

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