The Element Hotel is under construction on Battlefield Road, just west of National Avenue. (Photo by Steve Pokin)

I pulled over on Battlefield Road last Tuesday to look at what appears to be a substantial building under construction across from OakStar Bank, 1020 E. Battlefield Road.

What is it?

It didn’t take long for a highly trained journalist like me to unearth the answer. I read the large sign, which said: Element Hotel, 1031 E. Battlefield Road.

The project is on 2.7 acres. The owner is Bryan Springfield Hotels, Limited Liability Company.

That’s “Bryan” as in Bryan Magers. As in Bryan Properties.

You would think that over a few days it would be easy to get someone on his staff to return my call to offer a quick overview of the future Element Hotel and, perhaps, an artistic rendering of what it should look like when completed.

Alas, no one from the company called back before this story was published.

Next step, check for building permits

I next checked the city’s online listing of building permits. I do this when I write about projects under construction, particularly when I’m unable to talk to the developer.

Building permits often provide basic information on a project.

There were none. At least none I could find online.

So I called Cora Scott, spokeswoman for the city. She looked into the matter.

City staff have visited the site and made routine inspections, she says.

Finding permits online on eCity, she says, can be a “finicky” process at times. (In fact, days later, I tried to look again but this time I could not access the site.)

The city is aware of the development and has been out at the site for routine inspections, Scott tells me.

It looks like the builder requested an addendum and is waiting on City Utilities gas and water to complete its review, she says. An addendum puts a hold on the permits — meaning the general contractor can’t request an inspection until it goes through the review cycle.

Hotel described as “eco-conscious”

The News-Leader wrote about Element Hotels, in general, in January 2017 when it ran a USA Today story.

It states Marriott International merged with Starwood Hotels and Resorts. Marriott took over two of Starwood’s brands, “the boutique Aloft and the eco-conscious extended-stay Element, and testing out new designs and food and beverage concepts.”

Now there’s something I would have asked: What makes the Element Hotel “eco-conscious”?

I found information on the project at The Springfield Business Journal, which has been on top of the construction of the hotel, just west of National Avenue.

A ‘bright design that defies convention’

It reported on June 15, 2022:

Bryan Properties made its plans public for the 123-room hotel late last year, and costs were undisclosed. It’s located near Andy B’s and the National Avenue and Battlefield Road intersection.

“The Element by Westin in Springfield will feature a bright design that defies convention, bringing a fresh look to the gateway of the Medical Mile,” said Brad Gebhard, chief financial officer of Bryan Properties, in the release.

Officials said Camdenton-based Thomas Construction was awarded the building contract for the project scheduled to open in summer 2023. H Design Group LLC previously was announced as project architect.

The Springfield Business Journal also reported on Nov. 23, 2021:

Bryan Properties, owners of Hampton Inns and Tru Springfield Downtown, are eager to bring this bright, modern design to the extended-stay segment in south Springfield,” Gebhard said via email.

“The hotel will represent eco-conscious amenities, flowing multipurpose areas and deliver an innovative guest experience.”

This is Pokin Around column No. 74.

Steve Pokin

Steve Pokin writes the Pokin Around and The Answer Man columns for the Springfield Daily Citizen. He also writes about criminal justice issues. He can be reached at spokin@sgfcitizen.org. His office line is 417-837-3661. More by Steve Pokin