OTO Development Acquires the O'Callaghan Annapolis Hotel, Sets Sights on Reopening Next Year as a Hilton Garden Inn
Rick Hutzell | The Capital, Annapolis, Md. | October 11, 2017 1:00am
Oct. 11--A South Carolina development company has purchased and closed the O'Callaghan Annapolis Hotel, with plans to reopen it next year as a Hilton Garden Inn.
OTO Development, a private hotel group based in Spartanburg, completed the purchase Oct. 1 from O'Callaghan Hotel Group in Dublin. The purchase price for the 74-room hotel at 174 West St. was not disclosed.
In a statement released Monday night, the new owners said an extensive renovation is planned. The property is expected to open under the new name by summer 2018.
Corry Oakes, CEO of OTO Development, said in a statement plans include a total renovation of the interior of the West Street property, with improvements to the guest rooms as well as common areas.
It was not clear if the company would retain the name of the John Barry Restaurant and Bar, named after the Revolutionary War hero some consider the father of the Navy.
Oakes would say only that the renovations would make the restaurant and bar "new and exciting."
Oakes confirmed O'Callaghan Hotel Group, an Irish company, stopped taking reservations in June once the closing date of the sale was set. Officials at O'Callaghan declined to confirm the sale after it stopped accepting reservations.
Connie Del Signore, CEO and president of the Annapolis and Anne Arundel County Conference and Visitors Bureau, said the transition from the O'Callaghan to a Hilton Garden Inn would maintain the hotel's status as a budget-conscious alternative.
"This gives us options," she said. "We have a variety of price points people can choose."
The Irish hotel company opened the property in 2001, after purchasing the land for $1.5 million. It originally operated as a Holiday Inn but later converted to use the company's name.
At under 100 rooms with no significant banquet space, the O'Callaghan was dwarfed by its competitors on inner West Street between Loews Annapolis Hotel and the Westin Annapolis.
Del Signore said that in recent years, the bureau would hear from people who stayed at the hotel that it needed a refresh. The rooms needed an update and some of the mechanical systems were ready for an overhaul, they said.
The purchase gives OTO a second presence in Annapolis; it also manages the Hampton Inn and Suites off Riva Road. A company spokeswoman said the firm was interested in adding the West Street site to its 70-hotel portfolio because of its location in a city with a government presence, educational institutions and cultural attractions.
The Bozzuto Group has entered into a contract to purchase the site of the WNAV radio station, but has run into opposition to its plans to develop the site for new homes.
Bozzuto is investigating the purchase of 236 Admiral Drive but has not closed on the contract, said Tom Baum, president of Bozzuto...
West Street is a far different location than when the O'Callaghan opened. What was once a strip of run-down commercial buildings has evolved into a mix of arts businesses, restaurants, bars and office space. A persistent drug and prostitution trade has vanished and been replaced by townhouses. Bozutto Homes has two more townhouse projects for the corridor in the works.
The sale also comes as the Annapolis hotel business is enjoying a period of prosperity, with occupancy rates consistently hovering around 72 percent, Del Signore said. When popular events fill the calendar, like the Navy-Air Force game and the U.S. Sailboat Show last weekend, the town can fill up.
"We're really pushing people into the BWI market," Del Signore said.
OTO has applied for building and renovation permits from the city of Annapolis, according to the city website.
Plans call for the demolition of rooms, walls and figures inside the building and changes to exterior elements including new signs. The permits are under review by city planners, although a company spokeswoman said major demolition could start in about two weeks.
Palmar Construction of Herndon, Virginia, is the general contractor.
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