- Gary Dinges American-Statesman Staff
It appears Marriott is looking to bring a little Moxy to The Drag.
The hotel company has submitted preliminary plans to the city of Austin seeking approval to build a 154-room boutique hotel targeting millennials on the rapidly changing stretch of Guadalupe Street adjacent to the University of Texas campus.
City documents indicate the hotel would be constructed at 2552 Guadalupe St., taking the place of a graffiti-covered former Jack in the Box restaurant, which closed in 2015. The current timeline calls for work on the hotel to start in August 2018 and wrap up in November 2020, documents show.
An estimated price tag for the Moxy hotel hasn’t been revealed. The proposed site is .39 acres and was valued at $1.4 million last year by the Travis Central Appraisal District.
To accommodate the hotel and its parking garage, the hotel’s representatives have sought permission to relocate some overhead power lines in the area, placing them underground instead.
Heights along that stretch of Guadalupe Street are capped at 60 feet by the city, although developers can seek exemptions. One block to the north, the maximum allowed height is 75 feet, while one block west of the proposed hotel, it’s 175 feet.
A Marriott spokeswoman would only tell the American-Statesman that the company is “evaluating opportunities for a Moxy hotel in the Austin market.”
There are just a handful of Moxy-branded hotels currently operating – most of them in Europe. Rooms are smaller than at the typical hotel, at about 200 square feet. That’s less than half the size of the rooms at the new high-end JW Marriott in downtown Austin.
Described as “a boutique hotel with the social heart of a hostel” and a “free-spirited place where you can do all that crazy fun stuff you’d never think of doing at home, together with likeminded spirits you’d otherwise never have met,” Moxy’s amenities are squarely aimed at millennials, such as selfie stations – complete with props – in the elevators, games in the lobby and a round-the-clock bar.
“At the Moxy we don’t make excuses,” the chain says on its website. “Because we don’t make any rules. Step inside, make the bar your dance floor, kick back with a Cosmopolitan like the cosmopolitan you are. But just so you know, you might not want to leave. Ever.”
Moxy isn’t the only Marriott brand with an eye on the West Campus area. White Lodging, the largest hotel operator in Austin, has proposed an 11-story, 347-room dual-branded hotel at 1901 San Antonio St. featuring the Autograph Collection and AC by Marriott nameplates.
It’s expected to open in 2019, taking the place of a McDonald’s restaurant.
Aside from the new hotels, a number of other transformations have either taken place – or are about to take place – in the area: