Ortus Hotel Investments, LLC of Oklahoma City and Sovereign Properties Holdco, LLC, a business entity of the Chickasaw Nation, along with other local investors including Paul Self, lead investor of the Colcord Hotel, purchased the Skirvin Hotel in downtown Oklahoma City in mid-December. Ortus CEO Mark Beffort called the historic hotel “one of Oklahoma City’s greatest assets.”
“We currently have a significant stake in downtown,” Beffort said, “so when we heard the Skirvin was going up for sale, we wanted to be in the driver’s seat to buy the landmark hotel. We’ve worked with the Chickasaw Nation before, and we’re pleased to partner with them in this.”
Like Beffort and his Ortus partners Andy Burnett and Matthew Benjamin, the Chickasaw Nation is not new to the hotel business. Dan Boren, Secretary of Commerce for the Chickasaw, said the acquisition is in keeping with the vision of Chickasaw Gov. Bill Anoatubby and the history of the tribe.
“You only need look at our first hotel investment in Sulphur,” Boren said. “We acquired the motor inn that sat on the same footprint as the Artesian occupies today. These investments diversify our portfolio and our risks, but beyond that, the Skirvin is a win-win for the Chickasaw, our partners, the Skirvin and Oklahoma City. We’re always looking to be good community partners in cities and towns across Oklahoma.”
In a press release announcing the sale, Anoatubby said, “The Skirvin Hilton is one of Oklahoma City’s most beloved historic places as many residents and visitors know its storied past and have followed its revitalization and reopening in 2007. We believe our investment fits hand-in-glove with our OKANA project just east of downtown. We appreciate the opportunity to partner on this project with Mark Beffort, who is well-respected in this arena and has a proven record of sound investments in historic and commercial properties.”
Beffort said the group has slated $15 to $17 million for interior makeover and renovations on the Skirvin. The restaurant has struggled over the years, and Beffort said they’ll be repurposing the restaurant space but have no definitive plan yet.
“We don’t have our ultimate goal yet,” Beffort said. “We’ll do six to seven months of planning before we begin construction, which I anticipate will start third quarter of 2023.”
Beffort said they’ve already chosen the architects for the project: Omaha-based Leo A. Daly, a firm that specializes in hospitality design with a portfolio of work that extends from Nebraska to Abu Dhabi to Las Vegas to Jamaica. No decision on a contractor has been made at this point, according to Beffort.
In terms of working in an historic building, Beffort said that even though the partners have no restrictions on their repurposing of the Skirvin’s interior, they take seriously their charge to “honor the hotel’s history while brining it up to expectations guests would have of a modern, boutique hotel.”