New Montrose Hotel will Exude an Experiential Vibe

HOUSTON – By Cynthia Lescalleet (for Realty News Report) – Hotel St. Augustine under construction in Houston’s Montrose area, expects its role to be both a broad-appeal destination and a neighborhood resource for one of the city’s most eclectic environments.

The $57 million project, slated for completion this fall, encompasses 71 rooms, a flagship restaurant and bar, event and pre-function spaces, and what its developer characterizes as an “experiential” vibe both contemplative and urban.

Neighborhood Scale, Urban Scope Ahead for Hotel St. Augustine

Designed by Lake Flato for Bunkhouse Hospitality, the boutique hotel is an assemblage of five, two-story buildings with large windows and balconies. The deliberately open-air footprint enables several courtyards and walkways, extensive landscaping, and an inside-outside attitude carried throughout the property.

The project’s low-density, neighborhood scale was a way to tie-into the aesthetics and ethos of its adjacent neighbor, The Menil Collection, said developer Greg Marchbanks of The Marchbanks Co. He’s a Bunkhouse co-founder and frequent collaborator on its projects.

The Menil Collection, a campus of arts institutions and installations on 30 acres, is a major cultural draw. Almost from its start in 1987, its leadership had considered an eventual need for some sort of lodgings for guests and visiting artists, Marchbanks recalled in a recent discussion of the hotel project. More recent feasibility studies found promising interest and expected demand for lodgings.

Hotel St. Augustine will be located west of Montrose Boulevard and north of Richmond Avenue.

With a location near Houston universities, the Texas Medical Center, downtown Houston, the Museum District and Uptown Houston, the hotel’s intended market area draws from an unusual mix of destinations — perhaps without some of the congestion in those areas, he said.

LESS TRADITIONAL MORE EXPERIENTIAL

Unique to Hotel St. Augustine will be its range of room proportions. Its “micro-units” of approximately 300 square feet carry a lower price point. Each of the 16 large suites of 550 square feet has private outdoor living space. Standard rooms split the difference at 400 square feet.

As a hallmark amenity, the bistro Perseid, by Aaron BluDorn and partners, is expected to be a dining destination as well as a neighborhood jewel for locals.

Rendering of lobby of Hotel St. Augustine, under development in Houston’s Montrose area. Lake Flato of San Antonio is designing the hotel. Courtesy: Post Company

Marchbanks noted how each Bunkhouse project’s design builds upon previous projects’ outcomes. For this venture, the design increased the amount of indoor meeting and event space, including pre-function space and decks.

The lobby, in Building One that fronts Loretto Street, was also expanded beyond registration functions, again the idea being that the neighborhood might find it a spot for socializing or business.

Interestingly, the project’s emphasis on outdoor space was an early concept, one pre-dating Covid’s push for fresh air environments, Marchbanks said.

Hotel St. Augustine is the first Houston location for Austin-based Bunkhouse. Among its 10 properties in Texas are Austin’s Hotel St. Cecilia and Hotel Magdalena. (The Hotel Magdalena is located in Music Lane, a new Lake Flato-designed mixed-use project on South Congress Avenue in Austin.)

Bunkhouse’s second hospitality development in Houston, the 47-room Hotel Daphne, in The Heights, is also in the works.

The Hotel St. Augustine project team also includes interior design by Brooklyn-based Post Company and Ten Eyck Landscape Design of Austin, with the John Fairey Garden in Hempstead.

WHAT’S IN A NAME?

Hotel names inspired by saints and mythology appear to be a thing for coining recent Bunkhouse projects, Marchbanks observed. Hotel St. Augustine could claim several inspirations, whether noting the patron saint of theologians (and brewers and printers); as a reference to the oldest city in the U.S.; as a wink at Houston’s prevailing crunchy grass; and as a nod to one of Houston’s founding brothers: Augustus Chapman Allen. Which is it? A little of all of them, he said.

As the largest but non-majority investor, The Menil Collection Foundation’s participation in the hotel project came in the form of the land, about 90,000 square feet, a neighborhood block formerly home to old apartments and homes. Other participants include University of St. Thomas and Rice University’s endowments.

Hotel St. Augustine is not the only small hotel in the submarket. La Columbe d’Or, now with 32 rooms, operates a half-mile away, as it has since the ‘80s.

Marchbanks believes that every amenity added to the fabric of the one-of-a-kind area increases its general appeal as a destination. More for all.

The Montrose submarket continues to evolve and attract redevelopment, from new townhomes and luxury apartments, to new and restored boutique office buildings, to mixed-use projects like the Montrose Collective by Radom Capital. That company is currently revamping a shopping center surrounding the historic Tower Theatre. Skanska USA’s much anticipated plans for a mega- mixed-use development at the intersection of Montrose Boulevard and Westheimer Road are on hold.

The Perseid bistro, slated to open in the new Hotel St. Augustine, will draw diners to the the Montrose area. The 71-room hotel was designed by the Lake Flato architecture firm for Austin-based Bunkhouse Hospitality. Courtesy: Post Company.

June 24, 2024 Realty News Report Copyright 2024

Rendering courtesy of Lake|Flato and Ten Eyck Landscape Architects

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File. New Montrose Hotel will Exude an Experiential Vibe. Lake Flato. Ten Eyck. John Fairey Garden. New Montrose Hotel will Exude an Experiential Vibe Bunkhouse

 

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