New hotel proposed for Austin’s trendy South Congress area

Sep 18, 2014
Austin American Statesman

Another upscale boutique hotel could be coming to the South Congress area


The proposed Terrace Hotel is a new concept that Austin businesswoman Liz Lambert plans to build on 1.2 acres at Academy Drive and Music Lane, just off South Congress Avenue. The project would include about 100 hotel rooms, 15 condominiums, a restaurant and a cocktail lounge, according to plans filed with the city of Austin


Lambert is known for developing two other Austin boutique hotels, the Hotel San Jose on South Congress and Hotel Saint Cecilia, which is just east of the proposed Terrace Hotel site. Lambert did not respond to a request for comment left with her office on Wednesday


The site for Lambert’s proposed new project encompasses two parcels and is currently occupied by a row of offices and several apartment buildings as well as a single-family home. The largest tract is valued at $1.74 million by the Travis Central Appraisal District


Lambert and Austin Pfiester, one of the land owners of the proposed Terrace Hotel site, are scheduled to present initial plans on Monday to neighborhood representatives. The Greater South River City Neighborhood planning team will discuss the proposal, as well as the property owner’s request for a zoning change to allow the hotel to be developed


Lee Heckman, a senior planner with the city of Austin, said the zoning request would be heard by the Planning Commission and then the Austin City Council, which would have the final say


Marc Davis, past president of the South River City Citizens neighborhood association, said the developers have met with neighbors a number of times and made suggestions for issues such as parking


“The response from neighbors has been pretty positive,” Davis said. “Our concerns are anything that intensifies parking or traffic or noise or anything that pushes development further into the neighborhood. One of the good things about this property is it’s already surrounded by commercial property. They’ve been responsive and they’ve made changes to their proposal in order to greatly lessen the impact that the neighborhood could feel.”


More small hotel projects are on the way for the city, said Will Schnier, CEO of Big Red Dog Engineering, whose projects include South Congress Hotel, now under construction, and Hotel Van Zandt in the Rainey Street area. Schnier said his firm is working on half a dozen small projects here that haven’t yet been announced


“Austin is exploding with hotels with anywhere from 12 rooms to 80 rooms,” Schnier said. “This is one of the few places in the country where the business can really thrive. Our city demographics are great for it, and there is a lot of demand for a uniquely Austin experience. People don’t come to Austin and want to stay in a sterile cookie cutter hotel.”


In addition to her Austin hotels, Lambert is the developer of Havana, a 27-room hotel in downtown San Antonio and El Cosmico, an 18-acre trailer, tent and teepee hotel and campground in Marfa



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