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UP IN THE AIR: The JQH Tower Club has held recent events, but the current status of booking is unknown.
SBJ file photo
UP IN THE AIR: The JQH Tower Club has held recent events, but the current status of booking is unknown.

Future of Tower Club uncertain

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The top two floors of Hammons Tower seem inactive these days, and it’s unclear whether bookings are being accepted for the recently rebranded JQH Tower Club.

For years, the 21st and 22nd floors served as a members-only restaurant and public event venue, but now the space is inaccessible to the general public and those managing it aren’t talking about its status.

What’s known is the listed number is no longer in service and the elevator button to the 21st floor is disabled. Both Yelp and Google list the event venue as permanently closed.

An on-duty security guard on Sept 14 told a Springfield Business Journal reporter the top floors are closed and that nobody is working up there. He directed questions about the Tower Club to the Plaza Realty & Management Services LLC office on the ground floor of Hammons Tower.

Multiple employees in the Plaza Realty office deferred to officials at Atrium Hospitality LP, which took over management of Hammons Tower and other assets of the late John Q. Hammons after a bankruptcy court ruling earlier this year.

The only response SBJ received was from Sheri Smith, a spokeswoman for Atrium Hospitality: “We look forward to hosting several more events at JQH Tower Club this year, ranging from large celebratory occasions to professional meetings,” she said via email.

Smith did not answer a follow-up email inquiring about the events booked or whether new bookings were being accepted.

Less than a year ago, club officials celebrated its reopening and rebranding with a name change to JQH Tower Club.

It was closed for several months beginning in June 2017 for cosmetic renovations. According to past SBJ reporting, the venue had 27 upcoming events scheduled when it reopened in November.

Since then, Atrium Hospitality management has settled in. The company is owned by JD Holdings LLC, which this summer began assuming control of some 150 assets of the bankrupted Hammons estate through a roughly $1 billion buyout. JD Holdings represents the largest creditor in the bankruptcy settlement, according to past SBJ reporting.

Plaza Realty has had turnover since its longtime president stepped down.

Mark Harrell voluntarily resigned last year after 24 years with Plaza Realty, according to past SBJ reporting, and he was succeeded by Kelsi Hall.

Contacted by SBJ, Hall said she is no longer working for the real estate management firm. She was in the position for about a year, and John Schulte has replaced Hall to lead Plaza Realty on an interim basis.

Hall declined an interview and directed questions to Kyle Bowman, Atrium’s vice president of asset management and business development.

Multiple calls and emails to Bowman in Atrium’s Atlanta office over a two-week span were not returned.

Ashley Little, who was hired in November to handle bookings at JQH Tower Club, said she also is no longer with the company but declined to answer further questions.

Last month, Artistry In Bloom LLC provided its floral services for a wedding at the Tower Club, said owner Jill Webb. She was not aware of the current status of booking at the Tower Club and does not have any future events scheduled there.

SBJ confirmed at least two other previously scheduled events were held at the Tower Club as planned: Evangel University’s junior/senior class banquet in the spring and Springfield Ballet’s daddy-daughter dance in February, organizers with those entities said.

Jennifer Pulley, Evangel’s junior/senior class council adviser and retention specialist who booked the Tower Club, said the school doesn’t have any other events planned there at this time.

Bankruptcy court hearings are still proceeding, with the most recent filing on Sept. 20 as of press time.

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