Hotel Jerome plan goes to HPC |

Hotel Jerome plan goes to HPC

John Colson

The opening round of proposed changes at the historic Hotel Jerome, including the addition of a penthouse and a fitness room overlooking the garden area, goes before city officials for a first look next week.The owner of the Jerome, the Oklahoma Publishing Co., is planning a $20 million renovation of the hotel in the summer of 2007. The renovation plans will be up for discussion at 5 p.m. Wednesday, at the regular meeting of the city’s Historic Preservation Commission in the City Council meeting room at City Hall.The renovation is expected to take the entire summer season, from April to November, during which time the hotel will close.According to the city’s historic preservation planner, Amy Guthrie, the plan before the HPC involves, among other ideas, the addition of a fourth floor on the north wing of rooms.The new story would be built as a penthouse, she said, and would initially be a suite for hotel guests. But the HPC application, she said, includes a request that the penthouse be available for sale as a free-market unit at a later time.The penthouse would cover the entire expanse of the north wing, and the new roof would be the same level as the roof on the Mill Street section of the newer part of the hotel.Among the amenities in the penthouse, Guthrie said, are three bedrooms, a private swimming pool, a “great room” for entertaining, a “media room” for watching movies, a wine room and dining room, and kitchen and laundry facilities.The application also includes, Guthrie said, plans for construction of a new swimming pool in the garden area; extension of the underground parking garage beneath a portion of the garden area; the addition of hot tubs to the garden area; and installation of a “fire table” in the outdoor dining area.Overlooking the garden section, Guthrie said, would be a new exercise room proposed as a second story above the hallway that leads toward the north side of the building, along double glass doors that open onto the deck and the garden area.She said other aspects of the HPC application are: Replacing the old wooden railing around the balcony overlooking Main Street with a modern, metal railing Remodeling the dining areas inside the hotel Replacing some windows in the historic portion of the building Reconfiguring the Main Street entry to the building.The hotel, named for pioneer businessman Jerome B. Wheeler, was built in 1889 and last renovated in 1985, at a reported cost of close to $5 million.The man in charge of overseeing the Jerome’s operations, Steve Bartolin, has been quoted as saying there will be no changes to the J-Bar, the popular watering hole fronting Main Street. But the overall renovation project includes replacement of the building’s heating and cooling system and refurbishment of guest rooms, corridors and public spaces.Bartolin also said last year that renovating the dining spaces would involve combining Jacob’s Corner and The Century Room into one upscale, “sexy” eatery designed by the renowned Adam Tihany.The current owners, who also own the Broadmoor Hotel in Colorado Springs, bought the Jerome for a reported $35.5 million last year from the former owner, Jim McManus. McManus and his former partner, local developer and businessman Dick Butera, reportedly bought the hotel for $6 million in 1985. John Colson’s e-mail address is