February 19, 2014

Worthington Event Center & Comfort Suites Hotel, Worthington, MN

Worthington Event Center & Comfort Suites Hotel, Worthington, MN

Industry – Hospitality
Building Use – Hotel and Conference Center
Size – Event Center: 13,000sf; Hotel: 50,000sf
Event Center Construction Manager – Consolidated Construction Co., Inc.
Event Center Architect – WCL Architects, Inc.
Hotel Design/Builder – Consolidated Construction Co., Inc.

The Worthington Event Center and Comfort Suites hotel is a public/private joint venture to bring an exceptional venue for economic development and growth to this small community. Consolidated Construction assembled a team to find a national hotel brand and hotel owner/operator, facilitate the relationship among the city and private ownership group, source investor equity, and coordinate construction requiring both public and private contracting and bidding programs. Throughout the construction process, there were two project delivery methods conducted: design build on the hotel and public-bid construction management on the event center. Construction required significant labor and material coordination, as there were not only two owners, but also two distinct construction types: wood frame and structural steel/precast. The complex is now a major contributor to the local economy.

Worthington Event Center and Comfort Suites Hotel chose to “Consolidate it” with one call.

Funding

It was Consolidated’s team persistence, over six years, to connect the city with multiple hotel brands to complement the event center, and assembled an economic development package that won the project. Consolidated’s knowledge of the hotel industry and on-staff economic development specialist put Consolidated in a unique position to find a viable hotel developer backed by financial resources, a suitable brand for the market and use, and an operator that could run both the hotel and event center. Our team also worked with the City of Worthington to develop a TIF district to assist with infrastructure expenses, and assembled the final hotel equity.

Construction

In addition to the public/private ownership differences and contractual differences, the two projects also had distinct construction types. This difference required many different types of subcontractors to be on site at the same time, and logistics to coordinate the connection of the two buildings was rigorous. The project director and project manager mapped the communication, project responsibilities, and project logistics through detailed Construction Management Plans for each phase of the project.

Unfortunately, every construction team in the Midwest is faced with the task of overcoming harsh winters. During this project, Worthington pulled out every trick in the winter storm playbook to challenge our team. The city’s prairie location regularly brought with it harsh winds and snowstorms – nearly every week during the winter months. And finally in April, when winter seemed to be on its way out, Mother Nature paralyzed the city with a major ice storm. In addition to a week long power outage, the city was officially declared a disaster.

Despite the weather-related setbacks during construction, crews made up time and the event center and hotel opened as scheduled – in fact, the event center hosted its first event two weeks earlier than anticipated. In addition, the event project came in approximately $140,000 under budget, and the hotel right on budget and schedule.

Setting the Standard

Sometimes, going the extra mile for our customers requires us to play a key role in making connections and providing economic development on their behalf. In the case of the Worthington Event Center and Comfort Suites Hotel, it made all the difference in bringing this project to fruition, and will have a significant economic impact on this small but growing community for many, many years to come.

View more photos of the Worthington Event Center Project on Flickr