Revitalizing Small Towns through Hospitality Design: Greeley

Revitalizing Small Towns through Hospitality Design: Greeley

At JOHNSON NATHAN STROHE, we feel a strong sense of civic responsibility to address the long-term impact each of our projects has on the environment and community. While we work meticulously to create spaces that are beautiful and functional for their intended use, it is also essential that these projects enhance their greater context and add to the economic vitality of the area.

Continuing our series on the revitalization of tertiary markets through hospitality design, we turn our attention to Greeley, Colorado, which is undergoing a distinct transformation to help spur economic growth for the community. JOHNSON NATHAN STROHE-designed DoubleTree by Hilton Greeley serves as a compelling example of how the hospitality industry can be a central component in an effective revitalization strategy.

A Built-in Sense of Civic Pride

Greeley is one of the most historically significant communities in the American West. Named after New York Tribune editor, Horace Greeley, who came to Colorado in 1859 to report on the Colorado Gold Rush, Greeley began as an experimental utopian community built around agriculture and farming. Due to its growth of feedlots and the construction of advanced processing facilities such as Greeley-Capitol Pack, Inc., Greeley was once known as the “Steak Capital of Colorado.” Eventually, Greeley also became an epicenter for the sugar beet industry, and at one point produced one-quarter of the sugar sold and consumed in America. 

Despite its rich historical past, Greeley faced a distinct barrier for growth. Without a downtown hotel to provide accommodations for travelers, companies often overlooked the Northern Colorado town for hosting events or conferences. The lack of a hospitality element also made Greeley less attractive to investors looking to establish new developments outside of Denver. 

Unlocking Greeley’s Potential as an ‘Event’ Destination 

When JOHNSON NATHAN STROHE was tapped to design Greeley’s first downtown hotel and conference, we wanted to create something that would honor the town’s rich history, while also reflecting a promising future for the community.  

We welcomed the opportunity to work with such a highly recognizable brand like DoubleTree, while making the space feel unique to Greeley. Artwork from local artists and installations of agricultural and industrial tools throughout the common spaces reflected the area’s colorful heritage.  

The six-story, 147-room hotel includes a 12,000 square-foot ballroom – the largest in Greeley – with boardrooms, an executive lounge, restaurant and bar, a fitness center and indoor and outdoor spa. The lobby pays homage to Greeley’s prideful history with a mix of rustic and modern looks with barn-style doors, wood floors and steel desks. The hotel is also pet friendly to help accommodate for the many local dog shows that take place at Island Grove Regional Park nearby. 

A Community Metamorphosis 

Since the opening of the hotel in September 2017, Greeley has undergone a profound community metamorphosis. Local businesses have enjoyed hundreds of new visitors thanks to various conferences, meetings and galas booked at the new hotel. Greeley-based WeldWerks Brewing Co., hosted their WeldWerks Invitational in June 2018, which saw an estimated 650 people in attendance. 

Not only did the DoubleTree at Greeley fulfill a need for a downtown hotel, it also opened the door for several additional projects. South Maddie, a 220-unit apartment complex just east of the University of Northern Colorado campus, is slated to open late 2019. This project is predicted to provide a “domino effect” for downtown Greeley retail, according to developers in the area. 

Greeley’s population is on the rise as well. Consistently ranked as one of the fastest growing cities in America, Greeley has 60,000 more people living in the city today than eight years ago, a 23.6% increase. The job market is also thriving, with 27,000 more jobs in the metro area compared to 2010. To keep this momentum alive and well, in 2018 the Greeley’s City Council adopted The Imagine Greeley Comprehensive Plan, which lays down a roadmap to help the town achieve growth and prosperity in the future.

We’re honored to have designed the DoubleTree by Hilton to Greeley and will continue to watch its lasting impact on one of Colorado’s most beloved historic towns.