Transforming Spaces Through Adaptive Reuse - Heather Ciszczon - Defining Hospitality - Episode # 135

Our guest this week is a talented designer with over 20 years of experience. She’s a leader who helps transform spaces into experiences that are truly part of their local communities. Joining the show is Chief Development Officer at NuovoRE, Heather Ciszczon!

Heather joins host, Dan Ryan, for a comprehensive discussion on her journey from design to development. Heather discusses the intricacies of her work, including exceptional renovation projects like the 21C Museum Hotel in St. Louis. Additionally, Heather touches on the challenges of historic tax credit works and the responsibility of the hospitality industry in making outsized impact on the lives of people through innovation and engagement.

  • Hospitality is about meeting someone where they are at and where they’re most comfortable. While luxury experiences are nice, your customers may want something more relaxed. 
  • As a designer, when working on any project, you need to fully understand what the owner wants. Understanding those goals allows you to more effectively meet them, and deliver a satisfactory end product. 
  • When you are the owner of a project, you need to help give your team agency to work effectively. Helping them understand the why behind your motivations will allow them to carry out your vision to its fullest. 
  • While any project requires a good team, renovations have particular nuances that members need to handle. Having team members who are familiar with historic buildings and tax credit work are crucial understandings in addition to their design skills. 
  • When renovating old buildings, there is a fine line between preservation and adaptation. Adjustments to a building to make it function more efficiently as a hotel may face pushback from preservation societies; designers need to be sensitive to these needs. 
  • When trying to ingrain a property in the local community, partnerships are key. By partnering with local groups and providers, you help meet everyone's needs, have stronger procurement processes, and invest in the local community. 
  • The foundation of a good team is trust. Rather than waiting for something to go wrong, establish trust early on. With a strong connection between your team, issues that arise will be much easier to handle. 

Quote of the Show:
  • “That's not my skill set is to make something of a blank piece of paper. But if you give me a bunch of puzzle pieces, I will find a way to solve them.” - Heather Ciszczon


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Transforming Spaces Through Adaptive Reuse - Heather Ciszczon - Defining Hospitality - Episode # 135
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