HOUSTON – (Realty News Report) – Downtown’s Doubletree hotel is being rebranded the “C. Baldwin” hotel as part of a redo of the Allen Center development.
The C. Baldwin is named after Charlotte Baldwin Allen, who has long been overshadowed by her more high-profile husband, Augustus Chapman Allen, the New York real estate speculator who co-founded Houston with his brother, John Kirby Allen. In 1836, the trio steam-boated their way up Buffalo Bayou and onto the muddy landing to create the city.
The 354-room hotel, which has 14,000 SF of meeting space, will begin operating as the C. Baldwin in the summer of 2019.
Brookfield Properties, which owns the adjoining 3.2 million SF Allen Center, is redeveloping the hotel as part of its remake of the Allen Center complex. The hotel, 400 Dallas St., is also across the Heritage Plaza building.
With a redevelopment designed by internationally acclaimed Lauren Rottet of Houston-based Rottet Studio as well as Kate Rohrer of ROHE Creative, the hostelry will position itself as a “ high end and hyper-localized, independent hotel.”
The developer said C. Baldwin will be “an independent property operated under the Hilton Hotels & Resorts umbrella, providing guests the convenience of a premier global booking engine and full access to the acclaimed Hilton Honors rewards program.” But C. Baldwin is part of one of Hilton’s brand called the Curio Collection.
Rottet’s work includes the Four Seasons Casa Medina Bogota, Pendry San Diego, and The Langham Chicago. Rohe Creative hotel designs include South Florida’s Monkitail plus Philadelphia’s Double Knot and Cheu Fishtown.
Houston-based construction firm Tellepsen and Dallas-based architecture firm Morrison Dilworth + Walls are responsible for the exterior curtain wall work. Turner Construction is the interior general contractor and Atlanta-based DesignOne is the architect of record for the interior work.
“Houston has some excellent hotels, but none that are emblematic of the city it has somewhat discreetly become, which is to say a bootstrapping economic powerhouse and global hub that just happens to be wildly diverse, wonderfully eccentric and exceedingly cosmopolitan,” said Maggie Rosa, General Manager, C Baldwin. “We felt it was high time to introduce a hospitality experience that would truly embody one of our country’s most evolving destinations while honoring an awe-inspiring female pioneer.”
In 2017, Brookfield Properties completed a $50 million redevelopment of Allen Center, which includes the hotel and three Class A office towers. Brookfield opened up the Allen Center development, creating a park-like interface with Smith Street by tearing down a skybridge and revamping public open space by creating a green space called “The Acre” which was designed by the Office of James Burnett.
Brookfield Properties followed up the Allen Center redevelopment with the $875 million purchase in late 2017 of the 4.2 million SF Houston Center, another downtown complex that Brookfield will redevelop.
As the Allen Center redevelopment concluded, Travis Overall, Executive Vice President and Head of the Texas Region for Brookfield, indicated that Brookfield would maintain an affiliation with the vast Hilton booking system, but the full rebranding plan was not disclosed. The current situation, operating as an independent hotel outside one of the existing Hilton brand lines, is not a widespread practice.
The C. Baldwin independent identity is historically consistent with the namesake of the Allen Center and the city’s history. Charlotte Baldwin Allen has been called the “Mother of Houston” and in the early 1880s, it was once suggested that the city should be named “Charlottesville.”
Though local flags flew at half-staff when The Mother of Houston passed away in 1895 at the age of 91, the annals of history have largely ignored Ms. Baldwin Allen, a figure who played a pivotal role in the city’s early evolution.
Charlotte Baldwin Allen not only remained after her husband fell ill and left the city for good on a one-way ticket to Mexico, but she also became the primary financial driver of Houston’s entire construction industry, bankrolling the navy and building the short-lived Capitol of the Republic of Texas to boot. She donated countless leagues of public land – even though as a woman she did not legally own any herself – including the site used for the first City Hall (now Downtown’s Market Square Park) and countless plots to civic organizations.