Austin, Tex., Stands Out in Hotel Recovery That Has Hugged Coasts

Oct 3, 2013
New York Times

Skittish developers have delayed new hotels across much of the country until the economy returns to health, and financing does, too. But in Austin, developers aren’t that wary

A $300 million JW Marriott hotel, the biggest JW Marriott in the country and the city’s biggest hotel at 1.2 million square feet, is under construction on a full block near the Capitol. Developers broke ground on a Westin over the summer and a $350 million Fairmont will be going up a few blocks away

Eight hotels containing almost 4,000 rooms are scheduled to open across Austin within the next three years, making the Texas capital one of the most active markets in the country for new hotel construction

Although the Indiana firm, White Lodging, a private hotel developer and manager, has put up and managed mostly midmarket hotels near the airport or in the Austin suburbs for the last two decades and currently owns or manages 23, White Lodging is gambling its two new downtown hotels, the JW Marriott and Westin, will be worth its more than $400 million investment

“We’re big believers in Austin,” said Deno Yiankes, president and chief executive of White Lodging’s investments and development division in Indianapolis. “Austin’s employment growth is second to none and you can’t say that about the coastal markets. This is not a blip; it’s one of our strongest markets.”

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