The groundbreaking for Convergence, the mixed-use development that will house Innovation Hall, was Wednesday, Dec. 14. While the formal groundbreaking occurred before the construction of the parking garage, this second groundbreaking ceremony was to celebrate the start of construction on the bulk of the development that will include an eight-story boutique hotel and 200,000 square feet of office space in the tower.
At the event, Robinson Park Investments CEO Mark Beffort said, “Today we begin creating a place to stand up an ecosystem that will reshape our community. A place fostering creativity, a place to bring innovation alive, a place for opportunity, a place allowing all Oklahomans to advance their ideas and dreams.”
Innovation Hall was funded via MAPS 4, and the provisions included a $10 million allocation if matching funds were available from a non-MAPS source. Convergence is led by Gardner Tanenbaum Holdings CEO Richard Tanenbaum and Beffort. Convergence agreed to match the $10 million allocation.
The location of the project is adjacent to Stiles Park, the oldest public park in Oklahoma City, established in 1901. It’s home to the Beacon of Hope, a landmark that will remain during and after construction of the facilities and improvements to the park itself that include an amphitheater for events. The boutique hotel takes its name from the park and will utilize the Marriott reservation system.
The Stiles Hotel will have a full-service restaurant with a full bar and an additional lobby bar. The 107 rooms will include six suites, complimentary airport shuttle and conference space. According to plans released via press release, Lingo will handle construction.
In addition to Innovation Hall, which will house workforce development facilities for biopharmaceutical manufacturing, as well as educational space, the eight-story office tower is designed to be a hub for innovation, with targeted industries listed as biomanufacturing, aerospace, technology, advanced manufacturing and energy. The typical floor size of leasable spaces is listed at 26,000 square feet. Wheeler Bio is already signed on as a tower tenant.
Located in the tower, The Hive is a coworking space meant to spur innovation with access to education, resources and workforce. One of the intentional benefits of Convergence is its location between OU’s University Research Park and OSU Discovery, bringing the state’s two largest research universities together with opportunities to innovate and collaborate in multiple fields.
Finally, Convergence will have a public realm that includes an amenity deck, local retail and programming in Stiles Park. The public realm will be available to Innovation District tenants, hotel guests and the general public.
Mayor David Holt spoke at the event, calling Convergence “a major milestone in the evolution of the Innovation District.”
“We’re building a place where ideas will collide, innovation will ensure, and we’re ensuring that OKC is doing everything it can to stay on the cutting edge of the economy,” Holt said. “This is an exciting project and it’s special that MAPS 4 has acted as a catalyst for it.”