Downtown Developments

1,000-room luxury hotel to break ground in downtown Austin next month

1,000-room luxury hotel to break ground in downtown Austin next month

The Fairmont Austin Hotel Rendering October 2014
The Fairmont Austinwill break ground at the intersection of East Cesar Chavez and Red River streets on November 3. Rendering courtesy of Gensler

Austin’s newest luxury hotel will begin construction next month. The 37-story, 1,066-room Fairmont Austin is set to break ground on November 3 at the corner of East Cesar Chavez and Red River streets. The 1.74-acre site, located next to the Austin Convention Center, is currently a parking lot. 

A press release stated that Colony Capital, LLC — a private real estate equity firm based in Los Angeles — will provide financing for the $370 million project.

Fairmont Hotels & Resorts first announced plans to team up with developer Manchester Texas Financial Group, LLC and build a downtown hotel in 2011. Changes in building designs (Manchester originally planned for the hotel to have two towers and 50 floors) and other setbacks caused the opening date to move from early 2015 to its current projection of June 3, 2017.

"It's time for construction of The Fairmont Austin to fire on all cylinders," said Doug Manchester, president of Manchester Texas Financial Group, said in the release. "We're thrilled to have aligned with a first-class operator in Fairmont and a premier funding source in Colony Capital, and it’s all the more exciting given how strongly we believe in Austin."

The Fairmont will be the third convention hotel in the downtown area, joining the 800-room Hilton Austin and the JW Marriott Austin, which is currently under construction on Congress Avenue and is is expected to open in February of next year. 

Companies associated with the project note that attractions such as SXSW and Formula 1 create a high demand for hotel rooms and event space. According to a 2013 market analysis from consulting service HVS, "Austin Convention Center currently operates at only 40 percent capacity due to a lack of hotel room availability for large conventions and events."

The Fairmont Austin was designed to complement the Austin Convention Center with its two ballrooms, an exhibit hall and an additional 5,850 square feet. Although the hotel will be situated across the street from the Convention Center, an aerial walkway has been planned to connect the two.