New approach to hotel construction taking place in Midtown

Data pix.

ST. LOUIS – Cranes over a city skyline can usually point to progress being made. On Tuesday morning, a crane was lowering some Lou's in St. Louis.

Midtown to be exact.

"We're setting the fifth-floor bathroom pods of our seven-story, 153-room Element hotel on Forest Park Avenue in Midtown," said Chris Shinkle, vice president of development and construction for Midas Hospitality.

St. Louis-based Midas Hospitality is a management, development, investment, and construction firm, with 40 hotels in the Midwest and Southeast.

But this new hotel under construction is one they're quite proud of.

"So, we have 153 units here and 157 will be the modular bathroom pods," Shinkle said.

These pods, put together in an Orlando manufacturing SurePods facility, are being lowered into place while work continues on the new Westin Hotel off Forest Park Avenue near St. Louis University.

"Marriott has really taken ahold of the modular side where they're making modular components and whole guest rooms as modules," said Paul Reibel, director of SurePods LLC. "The whole idea is to be able to open up a hotel faster and better quality and speed to market is what it's about."

The all-ready put together pods means these places where you prep and primp are bringing a 21st century approach to hotel construction.

"They get set like a huge tile," Shinkle said. "They'll be grouted into place and you make the electrical connection with the wire. Make the plumbing connections, you go over the waste. Hang one mirror and set a toilet and, really, the room is ready to go."

"Once the building is dried in and all the plumbing is in place we'll come back and unwrap it and move it into the final spot and set it," says Reibel. "So, it's got an electrical whip on top, water to it, feeds the fixtures, and it's done."

The new rooftop bar and hotel will open in fall 2020 along with an ever-expanding Cortex District.

“We've got the Armory and Foundry and our Element hotel and we're developing the Aloft hotel in Cortex, so it's a very active part of town and we're thrilled to be part of it," Shinkle said.

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