Downtown set for another hotel, Aloft and Element plans along Congress Ave. There’s no doubt Austin has a hotel shortage, with several major festivals throughout the year like SXSW, ACL music festival, Formula one, UT football, and others the need for accommodations downtown is at an all time high. White lodging, which is currently building Austin’s largest hotel the JW Marriott, has now announced plans for a new Congress Ave hotel. This one’s a combo mix hotel with Aloft and Element, both Starwood branded hotels.
The proposal is calling for a 34 story hotel at the corner of 7th and Congress Ave. and would have 410 rooms. The building would rise 353 feet and would house a restaurant, bar, and meeting space. The dual-brand hotel is set to start construction this fall and would be open in early 2016.
One interesting fact about this proposal is the elimination of any onsite parking, something a few other developers have proposed as well. If built as planned, the building would have 3 (yes THREE) valet spots and a few ADA spots to meet city code. I’m all for taking more cars off the roads in central Austin, but building a 400 plus room hotel with really no parking is a bit of a challenge here to say the least. Now, to White Lodging’s credit, they are successful hotel operators so they know a thing or two about running a successful hotel, even in Austin. If they are successful, then I’d bet we’ll see more projects like it not offering on-site parking and would signal a move to use mass transit. Let’s wait and see what happens. The city is still reviewing the proposal.
Overall I like the design, in my opinion we need taller, slender buildings downtown. Something I predict we’ll get more of as we continue to grown and larger available lots downtown are no longer around to develop. This will cause new buildings to go vertical, so expect taller and taller buildings as Austin grows up! Let’s just hope the city can maintain it’s charm and uniqueness. After all, that’s what made Austin, Austin…in the first place.