Things are changing along South Congress Avenue. While the iconic Austin neighborhood has always been a magnet for visitors, even more accommodations and attractions are being added to the mix.
In May, Liz Lambert, the hotelier behind Hotel San Jose among others, took over neighboring Austin Motel. The historic space is receiving a much needed update, but the transition led to the closure of Snack Bar. Lambert's hospitality group, Bunkhouse Group, is also opening an 89-room boutique hotel called The Magdalena on Academy Drive near Hotel Saint Cecilia.
And, now, another new development is cropping up.
Local hotelier Kimber Cavendish is working with the owners of Guero's Taco Bar, Rob and Cathy Lippincott, to open a second Kimber Modern in the South Congress corridor. The project will be located behind the restaurant on an Elizabeth Street, on a property owned by the Lippincotts that previously housed Vulcan Video and Eco Wise.
"The property, consistent with our existing location, will be an urban oasis for the discerning traveler. It will have 34 rooms and suites, a speakeasy-style bar, a gorgeous event space, and a curated retail space. The project will also include 68 parking spaces in an underground garage," Cavendish says.
Maker Architects (whose portfolio includes the nearby South Congress Hotel) and Ten Eyck Landscape Architects are collaborating with the Kimber Modern team to design the space. Plans for the project, which have been submitted to the City of Austin, await approval. Construction is expected to start in the first quarter of 2017.
The original Kimber Modern, nestled behind The Continental Club, debuted eight years ago and will remain open. The fact that South Congress has evolved in that time is not lost on Cavendish.
"When we originally opened almost a decade ago, SoCo was a very different area than it is today. We feel like our new location will be as serene, beautiful, and design-forward as our original — yet the larger footprint will enable us to share it with more people," she says. "It will be incredibly respectful of this neighborhood we love, yet it promises to be quite a remarkable addition to the city."