Austin Fairmont Hotel To Break Ground November 3rd

Austin Fairmont Hotel To Break Ground November 3rd

Fairmont_Rendering_Oct2014_final

Some people, myself included, were beginning to think downtown Austin’s Fairmont Hotel was becoming development vaporware.  Back in March there was proof-of-life when they began fencing off the site.

Today, according to a press release sent to DAB, the Fairmont Austin, the first hotel providing direct access to the Austin Convention Center, is announcing that it has secured financing and will break ground on November 3, 2014.

Colony Capital has stepped in with project financing for the $370 million luxury hotel, which is expected to open June 3, 2017.

The site, located at the northeast corner of Cesar Chavez & Red River is a 1.74-acre parcel situated along the bank of Waller Creek. The hotel will be notable for having a direct connection to the Austin Convention Center, via an arial promenade being designed by Thomas Phifer and Partners (the firm selected by the Waller Creek Conservancy to develop a master plan for the Waller Creek district).

The finished building will no doubt add to downtown Austin’s skyline. At 595 feet tall, it will be second tallest structure in downtown Austin – the tallest being the 56 story, 680-foot Austonian.

Summary of what we know about the Fairmont Hotel…

  • Number of rooms = 1,066
  • Number of stories = 37
  • Square Feet = 1.4 million
  • Building Height = 595 feet
  • Delivery = June 2017

-Jude

Fairmont_Rendering_Oct2014_final

Fairmont Hotel, Red River @ Cesar Chavez, southwest POV





New Hyatt House Hotel Proposed in Downtown Austin

New Hyatt House Hotel Proposed in Downtown Austin

hyatt-house-pittsburgh

Hyatt House line of extended stay hotels (not to be confused with the  relatively new Hyatt Place across the street from The Whitley) has announced plans to build at 9th and Neches.

Being catty-corner from the Mohawk, steps aways from the music district on Red River, it makes sense that they would want to put something like a hotel in this particular lot, rather than something like condos.  However, it just seems crazy to see even MORE hotels coming up when you have so many other hotel projects happening. I mean, the same company is building 2 hotels (300 rooms) literally right across 9th street at 805 Neches.

Admittedly, it’s going to be an improvement of what’s currently there:

901 Neches

screenshot from Google Maps, Feb 2014

Hyatt House has an existing Austin location in the Arboretum.  Here’s what we know about what’s proposed for the downtown Hyatt House:

  • 901 Neches Street
  • .41 Acres of land
  • ~17k sf of building
  • 189 Rooms
  • 139 parking spaces
  • 10 stories

Hyatt-House-Downtown-Austin

I’m a bit surprised by the amount of parking they are contemplating: 139 spaces, for 189 rooms. Since it’s an extended stay style of hotel, I suppose they see a demand for parking, and are investing accordingly.  It’s just a bit strange because White Lodging, the owner of Hyatt, recently proposed Aloft on Congress Avenue – a larger hotel just four blocks away, without any parking!

The site plan for Hyatt House has been filed with the city, and a decision regarding the application will be made before 10/20/2014.

Looks like the current owner, Journeyman Austin Holdings, bought the land in April of this year.





Downtown Austin Aloft & Element Hotel Proposal for Congress Ave

Downtown Austin Aloft & Element Hotel Proposal for Congress Ave

7thandCongressWhiteLodgingAloftElementHotelrender3

At last night’s Downtown Commission meeting, we heard from White Lodging on their proposed 33 story, 353 foot, 410 key, dual-branded Aloft/Element hotel at 7th & Congress Ave.

They paid more attention to engaging Congress Ave this time, compared to what they did originally with the JW.  The rhythm of the columns, al fresco dining, and dramatic doorway from Congress are hat tips to connecting with the street scape.

The development is seeking a zoning variance related to step-backs and loading docks, which the DC voted to recommend to City Council provided that: 1) accommodation be made to the adjacent Hideout Theatre, which shares a party wall with the proposed development, 2) keeping the shared alley and sidewalks clear, 3) The South facing wall has no windows since the adjacent property could eventually be developed. There is a light well, but additional architectural consideration should be paid to this wall since this will be the most visible face of the building.

7thandCongressWhiteLodgingAloftElementHotelrender1

One interesting feature of this proposal is there will be zero parking spaces (excluding ADA requirements) and only three valet spots.  This isn’t the first Congress Ave hotel concept to propose no onsite parking.

I’m a believer in reducing parking to increase demand for public transit and reduce reliance upon cars.  It’s a rip-the-band-aid-off and get through the pain approach.  But, only three valet spots for such a large building?  Haha, lets watch this play out!  White Lodging knows a thing or two about operating successful hotels and how to park them.  The free market will determine the wisdom of this decision.   If they make it work it will be a huge signal to other developers about what is possible.

7thandCongressWhiteLodgingAloftHotel4

Overall, I’m impressed with the proposal. It’s reflective of a city that’s grown up (not growing up) and it’s important that we support projects that bring density to narrow lots.

Tall and slender, if built, this would be the first new skyscraper on Congress Ave since … well… White Lodging’s other hotel currently under construction, the 1000 room JW Marriott.

-Jude

7thandCongressWhiteLodgingAloftElementHotelrender2





Kimber Modern Is Coming To Downtown Austin – And It Looks Incredible

Kimber Modern Is Coming To Downtown Austin – And It Looks Incredible

kimbermoderncomestoraineystreet

If you have ever looked for parking behind the Continental Club on South Congress, you may have been surprised to see the Kimber Modern hotel quietly tucked along the back street.

The Kimber, with it’s clean, manicured building lines, has become a favorite destination for people visiting Austin, or even Austinites taking a staycation.

Though the notion of a Kimber Modern in the Rainey District has been percolating for a while now, the principals have been very tight lipped.

For the first time, we have an original rendering of the project that we can share, and can confirm that it will be called, simply, “Kimber Modern Rainey.”

Here’s what we know… 

– 30 hotel rooms (approx.)
– Four above grade floors
– One floor of underground parking
– Street level lobby, bar, pool, and restaurant open to the public
– Three floors of rooms
– Designed by Burton Baldridge
– Will be operated by Kimber Modern Team
– Co-Developed and built by Acero Construction

In almost poetic contrast to some of the recent cookie-cutter development in and around downtown, the Kimber Modern Rainey will be one of a kind.

Rendering of new Kimber Modern coming to Rainey Street district

Rendering of new Kimber Modern coming to Rainey Street district

 

It’s always refreshing to see a development putting forth a bold design vision.  Despite how much downtown Austin has evolved, many of us feel a bit let down by safe “beige box” aesthetic of several new buildings.  Hat tip to Burton Baldridge on the design.

Site as it is today

Site as it is today

 

The site for the chic bed & breakfast’s 2nd location will be on East Ave (near the corner of River St), sharing an alley with the core of Rainey Street.  Made up of two adjacent lots: 62 & 64 East Ave, it will welcome people into the neighborhood.

Site of Kimber Modern Rainey

Site of Kimber Modern Rainey

 

I’m excited that owner Kimber Cavendish and Vicki Faust are bringing this kind of quality, home-grown hospitality into the Rainey Street area, four years after they launched their South Congress base.

Notably, the South Congress location picked as on of 13 winners (out of 227 entries) in 2012 to receive the Texas Society of Architects Design Awards from a total of 227 entries.

The Kimber joins Hotel Van Zandt in the neighborhood, which finally erupted into construction earlier this year after years of smoke. Just outside the ‘hood the mega-luxury, mega-size Fairmont is also looking to get underway soon.





This Hotel Looks Just Like That Hotel

This Hotel Looks Just Like That Hotel

Where have I seen this rendering before?

It’s deja vu all over again!

White Lodging is losing no time getting to work on their third active hotel construction project in downtown Austin.

In late December, about three months after news leaked about the deal, planners filed a site plan and based on other documents filed at the city a clearer picture is emerging about the 300-room luxury hotel at 5th & San Jacinto, abutting the 6th Street Entertainment District.

According to city documents, the project will climb to about 20 floors, with a roof terrace, totaling 215,000 square feet.

Atlanta-based PFVS Architects Inc. are the architects of record.  PFVS already has a few hotels in Austin with their stamp on them, including the Westin at the Domain and the Marriot South Austin, off of I-35.  PFVS is also designing White Lodging’s other two current downtown projects.  White Lodging broke ground on a JW Marriott convention hotel valued at $300 million across from the Austonian last year, which is expected to open in 2015, and is working on a 296-room Hyatt Place under construction at 3rd & San Jacinto, expected to open this year. (Note: White Lodging also runs the Residence Inn next to the Convention Center.)

What is a bit surprising is how eerily similar drawings of PFVS’s Hyatt Place project, on 3rd and San Jacinto, appears to the renderings submitted to the city for the other hotel on 5th and San Jacinto, two blocks north. They are both about 300 rooms, and though the final products will probably be different, on the drawing board there is no denying they look quite similar.

Where have I seen this rendering before?

 

The 5th Street project comes to us from no other than Harry Whittington, who in this case created a joint venture with REI Real Estate Services LLC in Carmel, Ind., and White Lodging.

Whittington told the Austin Business Journal that after being courted by many developers his family concluded that building a hotel with the veteran hospitality developers was the route to pursue. (Whittington owned the lot for a whopping 45 years and is not in the business of selling his land.)

The site had entitlements for an 8:1 floor to area ratio, and zoning was successfully changed to provide a 13:1 FAR.

Something else lacking in the design are renderings that show the the building with a 6th Street POV – arguably the most important perspective for this hotel to blend into the neighborhood fabric.  Will it be a giant Plaza Lofts style flat blank wall looming over 6th Street?  I know the developer has heard these concerns, but we are left wondering about the results.

Should we expect more thoughtful design from architects and developers?  Absolutely.

Is this hotel better than the suface lot it’s going to replace?  Absolutely.

 





Delayed Rainey Street Hotel Plans Finalized

Delayed Rainey Street Hotel Plans Finalized

hotel-van-zandt

Hotel Van Zandt, proposed initially in parallel to The Shore Condos in Downtown Austin’s Rainey Street District in 2008, is still kicking.

Downtown Austin Blog reported in March that plans had been filed for the hotel, though it was unclear what scope the project had taken on. Today I confirmed the project will be 16 stories, about 180 feet, and about 320 units, plus 10,000 square feet of meeting space and a 5,000-square-feet of resturant office.

There will be about 159 [Read more...]





Another Boutique Hotel Planned For Congress Ave?

Another Boutique Hotel Planned For Congress Ave?

8th& Cong

It appears developers are pursuing a boutique hotel at the 800 block of Congress Avenue, in addition to one planned at the 400 block. We thought that once before, but this time different people are involved and it looks more certain.

The hotel, planned in the Bosche-Hogg Building — a historic building at Congress Avenue and Eighth Street plagued by low occupancy and bought out of Chapter 11 bankruptcy — will have 210 rooms and 120,000 square feet of office space, according to my intel. [Read more...]





And Then There Were Two

And Then There Were Two

austin convention hotel wars

A well timed announcement for a 50+story hotel at Red River and Cesar Chavez has shifted the attention away from the Mariott Marquis seeking a waiver of $4MM in development fees.

The latest hotel announced by Manchester Texas Financial Group is receiving good reviews for its design, ambition, and potential for embracing the Waller Creek District Master Plan.

To be clear, there really isn’t a choice here.  Each project is pushing forward on their own merits.  But the timing begs the question “which building can break ground first?”.

Both would be significant additions to the skyline and economy.  Development fee waivers, if any, will likely go to the project that is most prepared and that can begin construction soonest.

That’s incentive!

Below is a rendering of the “Grand Hotel” at Waller Creek

grand hotel on waller creek





Based on information from the Austin Board of REALTORS ® (alternatively, from ACTRIS) for the period through 10/25/14 12:47 AM PDT. Neither the Board nor ACTRIS guarantees or is in any way responsible for its accuracy. All data is provided “AS IS” and with all faults. Data maintained by the Board or ACTRIS may not reflect all real estate activity in the market.

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