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Images (from top left): BobbyBus1.jpg; BobbyBus2.jpg; BobbyBus3.jpg; BobbyBus4.jpg; BobbyBus5.jpg; BobbyBus6.jpg (PHOTO CAPTIONS available at end of release. Please credit Lisa Diederich Photography.)
Bobby Hotel in Nashville features a 1956 rooftop bus with hydraulic doors from Schweiss
FAIRFAX, Minn., October 6, 2020 – Bobby Hotel, a new lifestyle boutique hotel located just a few boot-clad steps from Nashville’s historic downtown haunts, opened in grand style.
An eventful highlight of the opening was the hoisting of a 1956 Greyhound Scenicruiser bus, 10 stories up, to the rooftop of the Bobby Hotel. The bus features two hydraulic doors from Schweiss Doors, one on the side and the other at the rear, creating a rooftop haven for customers at the Rooftop Lounge.
A Schweiss dual-pump system for each door, with its electric motors, were placed 60 feet away inside the swimming pool mechanical room. They operate the hydraulic cylinders to lift and close an 18-foot, 6-inch by 8-foot side door and an 8-foot by 9-foot rear bus door. The doors can be opened and closed with handheld remote openers.
The 1956 Greyhound now serves as part of the Rooftop Lounge and maybe, more importantly, as a landmark for visitors and specialized clientele. The bus was somewhat stripped down from its original 20,000 pounds to lighten the load before hoisting it to the rooftop with a crane.
Castlerock Asset Management, which undertook the adaptive reuse of the Wells Fargo Plaza building, enlisted Hemphill Brothers Coach Company to redesign the bus for the top of the 1970s office building. The Nashville-based company is a creator of custom tour buses.
Castlerock envisioned Bobby Hotel “to create an immersive hotel that feels like the quintessential Nashville experience and mirrors musicians’ life on the road.”
“We wanted to create a unique experience on our rooftop different than any other hotel in Nashville,” says Ray Waters, Vice President of Castlerock.
After extensive building renovation, Bobby Hotel became a vibrant lifestyle hotel, complete with a rooftop lounge and dipping pool, on-site restaurant and unexpected entertainment you’ll only find in Nashville.
Joel and Trent Hemphill started the Hemphill Brothers Coach Company in 1980, with assistance from their father, who had retired from the coach-leasing business. It was their job to give the 1956 bus a magical conversion touch.
Jeff King and Gary Favinger, a technical support and fabrication man for Hemphill, said the bus is probably the only one of its kind in the world.
“Bobby Hotel purchased the bus, which was not running when we got it,” Favinger says. “They were looking for someone to do the project. We had three months to do the conversion from start to finish; we actually didn’t open the door until one day before delivery. The other company they had trying to do it wasted four months on the job before we got it – we had to have it done before they took the crane down. A lot of imagination went into Bobby.”
They gutted the whole drive train and interior and had to widen the bus by four feet, up to 12 feet. They build a 5-inch I-beam structure frame to make a platform for the bus. Where it’s situated, it looks like it could be driven off the building.
“Bobby wanted the front half of the bus to appear like the original coach,” Favinger says. “The seats were all reupholstered with overhead lighting added. We searched around and ran across Schweiss. The doors are amazing with fail-safes built into the hydraulics. We cut half the side off the bus and built a structure to support it and rebuilt the back door opening. When I first opened the doors, I wasn’t quite sure how it was going to go. When it opened up, it was just unbelievable.”
Hemphill Brothers Coach Company operates a maintenance and conversion facility near Nashville and it maintains a fleet of over 90 motor coaches for lease. The company deals in used coaches and new custom conversions.
“A bus looks and feels its best when you use the very best,” Hemphill says. “All of our buses’ interiors are handmade and custom designed. We create our buses with top-of-the-line materials, such as genuine leather, hardwood flooring, granite, marble and onyx. The combinations of these items produce a gorgeous bus interior. We also go the extra mile with what you don’t see to make a bus more elaborate. On other projects, we have included everything from an upright piano in the front lounge for Harry Connick Jr. to a treadmill in the back lounge for Taylor Swift to three rolling television studios for ABC News.”
They also do all the wiring, plumbing and electrical work in-house in order to exceed the needs of their clients. They can upgrade sound systems, install televisions and additional video equipment, utilizing top-of-the-line electronics. Heated marble bathroom floors, Apple TVs, WiFi, powered blinds, air pocket doors and HDTVs are a few of their favorite high-end features. Every little detail is carefully selected to make a bus as elaborate as possible when combined for a finish product.
“We were kind of blown away with the size of the doors,” Favinger says. “The system is awesome. If I ever have any other big projects to do, it will be with no one else other than Schweiss. The people at the Bobby Hotel were blown away by the whole deal. There’s never been a bus with side and rear doors opening up and on top of a hotel. It’s a one-of-a-kind. We just made it happen.”
Schweiss Doors is the premier manufacturer of hydraulic and bifold liftstrap doors. Doors are custom made to any size for any type of new or existing building for architects and builders determined to do amazing things with their buildings, including the doors. Schweiss also offers a cable to liftstrap conversion package. For more information, visit www.bifold.com.
Completed: June 2018
BobbyBus1: Imagine flying over Nashville and seeing this sight: a big Greyhound bus sitting 10 stories up on the Bobby Hotel building. This landmark, also partially visible from the ground, will draw you into the hotel and its restaurants. (Lisa Diederich Photography)
BobbyBus2: Prior to having the crane lift the bus to the roof, the shell of it, minus most of its 10 wheels, drive train, engine and other weight, was placed on a steel platform. The original road weight of the bus was 20,000 pounds. (Lisa Diederich Photography)
BobbyBus3: In order to get additional room inside the bus, Hemphill Brothers Coach Company cut it down the center and widened the body four feet to where it is now 12 feet wide. (Lisa Diederich Photography)
BobbyBus4: Even if it’s a rainy day, the two bus doors can be opened to provide a nice canopy that can also provide shade on a hot Tennessee day. (Lisa Diederich Photography)
BobbyBus5: The two Schweiss Doors compact hydraulic pumps that open the doors are situated 60 feet away in the swimming pool mechanical room to give maximum space inside the bus. (Lisa Diederich Photography)
BobbyBus6: The Bobby Hotel Greyhound bus stays open for late-night parties under the stars. Its location gives a good view of the Nashville skyline. (Lisa Diederich Photography)
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