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Groundbreaking in Nov. for 1,000-Room Convention Hotel in Austin

Rendering of 1,066-room Fairmont Austin hotel. Construction will begin in November and be completed in 2017.

Rendering of 1,066-room Fairmont Austin hotel. Construction will begin in November and be completed in 2017.

AUSTIN – A groundbreaking will be held next week for The Fairmont Austin, a 1,066-room hotel adjacent to the Austin Convention Center.

The hotel’s developer, Manchester Texas Financial Group, secured financing from Colony Capital, LLC for its $370 million luxury hotel, which is slated to open June 3, 2017.

“It’s time for construction of the Fairmont Austin to fire on all cylinders,” said Doug Manchester, president of San Diego-based MTFG. ”

Final designs for the Fairmont Austin call for a 37-story hotel, plus four levels of underground parking, totaling nearly 1.4 million square feet. The hotel will rise 595 feet, making it the second tallest structure on downtown Austin’s skyline, which is currently dominated by the 56-story, 680-foot Austonian residential tower.

The property will be built on a 1.74-acre parcel at the northeast corner of Cesar Chavez and Red River Streets, connected to the Austin Convention Center by an aerial promenade being designed by Thomas Phifer and Partners, the same firm selected by the Waller Creek Conservancy to develop a master plan for the Waller Creek area. Waller Creek runs along the northwestern edge of the Fairmont Austin location.

Todd Runkle, Principal and Managing Director of Gensler’s Austin office, describes the design of the Fairmont as a significant architectural contribution to the city’s skyline as well as a catalyst for the development along Waller Creek.

“The design of the building incorporates a high level of sustainability including an energy efficient exterior skin, building systems while using local materials and promoting a more walkable downtown Austin,” Runkle said. “We feel this project will raise the level of architecture in the hospitality industry as well as in Central Texas.”

The project marks Fairmont’s second hotel in Texas and joins The Fairmont Dallas, located in the heart of that city’s Downtown Arts District.

William R. Fatt, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of FRHI Hotels & Resorts, the luxury hotel brand’s parent, said: “Fairmont is delighted that construction of the Fairmont Austin is underway and we are excited to be working with the Manchester Group and Colony Capital. The Fairmont Austin, with its unique design and unrivalled location with direct access to the Austin Convention Center, will quickly become the leader in the Austin market.”

The Fairmont Austin is expected to help Austin attract additional convention center business and meet pent-up demand. It will feature 106,500 square feet of meeting space, plus an additional 43,300 square feet of pre-function space and a 19,000-square-foot outdoor deck with space for 1,200 guests. The project will generate upwards of $15 million in hotel occupancy tax and contribute $6 million in property tax annually, most of which will go to the Waller Creek TIF (tax increment financing) district. It will add roughly 1,000 permanent jobs to the Austin market and more than 700 construction jobs while it’s being built. Hunt Construction Group was awarded a $247 million contract in June to build the hotel.

Los Angeles-based Colony Capital, founded in 1991 by Barrack, has extensive expertise in the hospitality sector including investments in over 500,000 rooms across 4,300 hotels in 100-plus countries. Select hospitality investments have included Accor, AmanResorts, Fairmont, Raffles, Savoy Hotel Group, Kerzner International, One&Only, Costa Smeralda, SLS Hotels, The Ritz-Carlton Kapalua and The Orchid Mauna Lani. Colony has been ranked as the fourth largest private equity real estate firm in the world for the second year in a row by Private Equity Real Estate, with over $60 billion invested since inception.

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