Construction has started on a second Westin hotel in Austin — a 366-room project that will rise 17 stories at the northeast corner of East Fifth Street and San Jacinto Boulevard.
Indiana-based White Lodging Services Corp. announced the groundbreaking Wednesday. The hotel is due to open in the spring of 2015.
“We believe in the market, and will continue to be believers in the future of Austin,” said Deno Yiankes, the president and CEO of White Lodging’s investments and developments division. “We are excited to bring the Westin brand to downtown Austin.”
The hotel, which will be a block and a half from the Austin Convention Center, is a joint venture between White Lodging, the Harry Whittington family and REI Real Estate Services LLC. It will be the 24th White Lodging-managed hotel in the Austin area. The other Westin is at the Domain development in North Austin. White Lodging co-owns and manages the Westin Austin at the Domain, and will also co-own and manage the Westin Austin Downtown.
The downtown Westin will have a full-service restaurant, fitness center and 15,000 square feet of meeting and banquet space. In addition to helping meet an ever-growing demand for hotel rooms, White Lodging said the hotel will generate significant economic benefits, including about 140 permanent jobs and an estimated $6.3 million in taxes annually in property, sales and City of Austin taxes.
White Lodging is not releasing a cost for the project.
White Lodging also is building the 34-story JW Marriott convention hotel now under construction at Congress Avenue and Second Street, which is due to open in early 2015. The 1,012-room hotel will be Austin’s largest, as well as the largest JW Marriott in the U.S. to date.
White Lodging also developed the 296-room Hyatt Place at Third and San Jacinto streets downtown, which opened in March.
Another hotel broke ground downtown July 1, the 16-story Hotel Van Zandt at Red River and Davis streets. The hotel will add 322 rooms to the market when it opens its doors in the first quarter of 2015.
Randy McCaslin, a hotel industry consultant, said that with the recession over in Texas, “Austin hotels are having a banner year.”
“This increased business is enabling the existing hotels to spruce up their properties to remain competitive when the large number of new hotels come on line,” said McCaslin, vice president and practice leader for the Texas and Louisiana markets for PKF Consulting USA.
Downtown hotels that have undergone renovations within the past year include the Inter-Continental Stephen F. Austin, which had a $12.5 million floor-to-ceiling remodel, and the Omni Austin Hotel. At the Hyatt Regency Austin just south of downtown, construction continues on a parking garage and ballroom addition on the property, which overlooks Lady Bird Lake.