Downtown development draws international talent

Local News

When Cyrus K. Holliday moved to Topeka after traveling across the Midwest, he wrote letters to his wife urging her to move here.

One letter from 1855 read I am prepared to say that Kansas exceeds them all in point of true excellence.

Now 164 years later, a hotel has opened in his name and it’s bringing employees from around the world to Topeka. Those Cyrus employees are writing home.

There’s building going on, there’s a lot of people walking around, the restaurants are full, said Jeffrey Pavone. 

Pavone is from Niagara Falls, Ontario and works as the hotel’s general manager. He moved from Florida to Topeka last year.

I live in one of the lofts downtown over by the Jayhawk Theater, said Pavone. ”There‘s a lot of artists and cool individuals that live in that area. You can walk everywhere. It used to take me a 30, 40-minute commute to work every day and I can actually, essentially walk to work.

He’s not the only who feels like Topeka has a cosmopolitan-city feel.

Although I’ve lived in big cities, this is kind of like a mini-city, there’s everything to do here, said Raymond Alexander.

Alexander is the director of food and beverage. He’s from South Africa.  

I’d go home and have comfort food, that’s what we really crave for, it’s just that down to earth, comfort, feel-good kind of food, that’s what I love about Topeka, said Alexander. You find those places that make you feel like you’re back at home.

He’s worked around the United States in the hotel industry but said Topeka feels like home.

The hotel is also bringing new life to old residents. Alexander said people come in and point out things that remind them of growing up here, like the lights that can be seen around the Cyrus. They resemble lights on the bridge crossing the river on Northwest Topeka Boulevard. 

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