Toby Eoff watched as the first of 30 trees surrounding the Marriott Hotel & Convention Center was planted Thursday morning.
It was a red oak hand selected from the George W. Bush Ranch in Crawford.
Eoff said the landscape around the hotel and convention center is important to him and his wife, Sondra Eoff, as they previously owned a nursery in Fort Davis.
“I have an affinity for plants, hence the big landscape budget we have for the hotel,” said Toby Eoff, who invested $7 million into the $40 million hotel and convention center. “It’s really going to be something spectacular. People are going to want to come just to see the landscape on this property.”
Toby Eoff said the landscape budget for the hotel and convention center is about $500,000.
The red oak was backed up on a flatbed trailer as it was 23 feet tall and weighed more than 18,000 pounds. The canopy of the red oak is 24 feet.
“It’s a heavily landscaped project,” Eoff said. “There will be a variety of over 100 plants and we’ll have somewhat of a botanical garden setup throughout the hotel property.”
Eoff explained the ability to get a tree from the George W. Bush Ranch was invitation only.
A majority of the trees that will be on the hotel and convention center were purchased from the same ranch. Eoff also said the red oak was the first tree ever planted on that ranch.
“Our architect had a relationship with that ranch, so it’s a special opportunity to be able to go in and pick out these trees from the ranch,” Eoff said.
The construction crew dug a hole that Eoff said was about the size of a Volkswagen.
A crane was needed to move the red oak from the trailer to the hole near the front entrance of the hotel. Eoff said the hotel and convention center plans to open in August.
“I’m thrilled where it’s at now,” Eoff said about the hotel and convention center taking shape. “It couldn’t happen fast enough for me.”