HomeAwardsReal Estate Innovator of the Year - The First National Building

Real Estate Innovator of the Year – The First National Building

Gary Brooks remembers never paying much attention to The First National Center until September 2015. The building was in receivership, and vast swaths of the nearly one-block complex were badly in need of repair.

“I just felt like the time was right,” Brooks, a partner in The National, said. “At the same time, it takes thousands of people to make a project of this scale work, and dozens of leaders – from the mayor to the lenders – to step out in front and take the risk with you.”

Those risks have led to the complete renovation of the nearly one-million-square- foot facility, transforming it into a beautiful complex of hotel, condominiums, dining and retail. For Brooks, the innovation is mostly located in engineers and designers who can take a 90-plus-year-old building and turn it into a modern, beautiful entertainment, dining and lodging project that keeps most of the building’s physical history – architecture, art, stonework, etc. – intact while also providing a high-quality, thoroughly modern guest experience.

“We looked at 106 case studies from around the country – and visited many of them – to cull the best ideas for projects like this,” Brooks said. “The combination of food and beverage, hotel, and retail is very common, and it’s a perfect use for beautiful, historic buildings.”

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