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Coury adds McBirney to collectionPaul Coury

Tulsa Business Journal, May 10, 2010

BY STEPHEN HILLMAN

The Coury Collection has added the McBirney Mansion to its stable of properties with plans to upgrade the Tulsa landmark and enhance its business traveler appeal.
The Tulsa-based manager of historic and boutique hotels recently took charge of the river-view property at 1414 S. Galveston Ave. with plans to immediately begin work on the upgrades while continuing its operation as a luxury inn and small event center, said Michael Frimel, executive vice president of the Coury Collection.

"It fits right into our portfolio of historic properties," Frimel said."It is a treasure to Tulsa. We are very excited to be a involved with that aspect of it and to put the Coury touch on it."

The Coury Collection currently operates the Hotel Ambassador, 1324 S. Main St., and Colcord Hotel in downtown Oklahoma City.

The Coury Collection, which has found its niche in boutique operations that blend classic elegance and modern technology, is also expanding into the Kansas City, Mo., market, expecting to begin converting the former Gate City National Bank into a boutique hotel later this year.

Frimel said upgrades, which will include paint, linens, bedding and furnishings, are planned for the 12,000-SF McBirney Mansion’s six guest rooms and public spaces, including two dining areas, a living area and sunroom. The facility has added complementary wireless Internet service.

"We will also be increasing our ability to showcase the outside of the property, and we will add the carriage house, which will become a separate rentable unit for special occasions, such as honeymoons and anniversaries," he said.

The carriage house has a living room, bedroom, kitchenette and sun porch, which overlooks the Arkansas River.

"We are still going to cater to weddings, social events, corporate meetings and retreats and individuals, including leisure travelers on the weekend and business travelers during the week," Frimel said.

While the strength of the mansion in the past has been the weekend leisure traveler and social events, Frimel said, the goal is that"the business traveler during the week will be able to come to this facility and feel like he is at home."

Room rates start at $139 and up for the weekday business traveler. Event prices are based on total or partial rental of the facility. The facility has no food service of its own but works with local caterers.

Frimel said plans discussed by previous owners to add a spa and rooms on the slope running down to Riverside Drive on the mansion grounds have been canceled.

"We are going to upgrade the structure as it exists today," he said."This is what we are going to work with."

The McBirney Mansion is owned privately under the name WSL Properties LLC.

Frimel said the mansion will complement the management of Hotel Ambassador, which has limited meeting and banquet space.

"It is really a great fit for us to be able to meld these together," he said."A social event can be held here in a very unique facility and allow the family to stay together in an upscale boutique hotel. It allows us to combine the amenities of both properties."

Plans for the Gate City National Bank are to convert the six-story building into The Grand Hotel. The transformation into a 42-room hotel is expected to cost about $8 million and take a year to complete.