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Photo courtesy of Austin FC

It turns out games aren’t the only thing you can win in Major League Soccer. Austin FC and Q2 Stadium really cleaned up. The MLS Players Association (MLSPA) announced choices made in the 2022 Player Voices Poll, some of which were especially flattering to Austin in the stadium’s first year-and-a-half open.

Q2 Stadium was the most popular venue across the league in response to two questions: “What is your favorite MLS stadium to play in?” and “Which MLS stadium has the best pitch?” The choice for the most “impactful [player] in supporting their community” was decisive — the players agreed on Austin FC goalkeeper Brad Stuver for the second year in a row.

Austin FC was the second most popular club footballers would play for, given a choice, according to a release by Austin FC. The published poll results do not show this level of detail, nor even this particular question. It continues to award midfielder Diego Fagundez as the league’s second most underrated player (after Columbus Crew’s Darlington Nagbe), and Designated Player Sebastián Driussi the runner-up position for league MVP (after Nashville FC’s Hany Mukhtar).

In opposition to all the love for Q2, players chose the LAFC field at Banc of California as the venue with the best home-team advantage. This may come as some small validation for Austinites in the wake of Austin FC’s Conference Finals loss on this field on October 30. The poll also gave a nod to the National Women's Soccer League, naming San Diego Wave FC’s Alex Morgan as its best current player.

This is a fitting cap to Austin FC’s record-breaking season: the team sold out all of its home matches in 2022, including both regular season and playoff games. With more sold out matches last year, this brings the club to 36 sellouts in a row, “the longest active sellout streak in MLS.” The average attendance at an Austin FC game was 20,738, meaning nearly 750,000 seats filled during that streak.

Even though the soccer season is over, we won’t be without it for long. Re-entry drafts already started on November 17 (with Austin trading up to the top spot), and it’s only a matter of time before Austinites can keep that sellout streak going.

Photo by Randall Alford on Unsplash

Draft 'Vision Plan' for Zilker Park unveils land bridge and more possibilities

Write In

Austinites are overflowing with opinions about how the city should be evolving, and now they have a chance to apply those thoughts toward the city’s oldest park and most central public space. On November 15, the Austin Parks and Recreation Department released a draft vision plan for the future of Zilker Park, which is open to community comments through January 8, 2023.

Officially titled the “draft Zilker Park Vision Plan document and map,” it sounds broad, because it is. The goal of the plan is to “establish a guiding framework for the restoration and future development of Zilker Metropolitan Park,” which includes all of its 350 acres. It is the first document to tackle this initiative in its entirety, and it emphasizes the need for community feedback.

It is important to note that Zilker Park does not just refer to the Great Lawn, the open space that hosts Austin City Limits Music Festival, which has relatively little structure and programming compared to the surrounding park and facilities. A map on a separate web page shows all the proposed areas in one place.

“One can think of Zilker Park as a complicated puzzle of elements that need to come together to create a holistic park. The decisions made for one element have impacts for the other aspects of the park — from ecological uplift to transportation initiatives to cultural programs and policies,” states a summary in the plan. “It is also important to acknowledge that the plan needs to solve the challenges faced today, but allow for innovative solutions to address climate change, transportation, and generally being a park for a thriving, growing city … the plan needs to think 100 years forward to plan for a sustainable, thriving park."

The 207-page document outlines the history of the park, goals and obstacles concerning ecology and equity, and relevant financial data. Although most of the document is context and sharing past outreach findings, Chapter Six contains the proposed changes, “based fully on the community outreach and stakeholder conversations that have taken place over the course of the planning process.”

Highlights of the vision plan include:

Zilker Land Bridge
Perhaps the most conspicuous change to visitors, if it is implemented, would be the Zilker Land Bridge. Inspired by the land bridge under construction at Houston’s Memorial Park (much larger than Zilker at 1,500 acres), this idea garnered 74 percent approval in the fifth and most recently published survey.

“The land bridge will stitch the park back together by joining the north and south sides of the park with an underground parking garage,” says the summary of the feature. An illustration shows it wrapping over Barton Springs Road, connecting the Great Lawn to proposed areas south of the road including a new Zilker Hillside Theater, a sports area, and a welcome plaza along Barton Creek. Another proposed change would reduce the road to one lane in each direction.

Zilker Land Bridge The proposed Zilker Land Bridge. Courtesy rendering

"Ecological Uplift"
The phrase “ecological uplift” appears often in the document (20 times), referring to the possibility of one day reducing parking areas, improving spacing of access points to Barton Creek, and turning landfill areas from contamination hazards to biodiverse park space.

Visitors will recognize one of these landfill areas as the dusty overflow parking behind the Zilker Botanical Garden. Participants in the surveys that informed this document expressed interest in removing waste or adding soil, and the plan illustrated a wooded and meadow area to replace these. As readers can imagine, ecological uplift is a primary concern with too many proposed solutions to summarize, but the document specifies 91 acres to undergo some type of uplifting treatment.

Ecological Uplift Zilker Park Proposed "Ecological Uplift" on landfill area.Courtesy rendering

Parking garage
Any Austinite that has driven to and from Zilker Park has likely spent hours slumped behind the steering wheel waiting for other drivers to clear out, or circling the free parking lots. The change most Austinites have responded to in the first 24 hours of comments is a proposed parking garage. It would be located “on the east side or under MoPac” and service “Zilker Botanical Garden, Austin Nature and Science Center, the new Rowing Dock, and the Ann and Roy Butler Trail.”

Several commenters call for better efforts at encouraging public transportation. (The document contains the word “bus” 20 times and proposes city-monitored “triggers” that would allow for parking areas to be reclaimed as park space, one being the achievement of 15-minute-or-less bus arrivals.)

Zilker Park vision plan The proposed Zilker Park Vision Plan.Courtesy graphic

A concern it is difficult for the plan to address is local discomfort with change and overdeveloping a piece of land that feels, to many, like one of the only parts of the city that isn’t subject to the urbanization of the surrounding city.

“I don't know if we need a sports field and playscapes on the south side,” wrote one commenter, who on November 16, held the top comment. “I think they will fall into disrepair quickly and one of the cool things about Zilker is that it's open and natural. It doesn't need to be built up for people to enjoy it. [It]'s just natural and open."

Community members are encouraged to share feedback by commenting on the draft plan and the map, taking the surveys on both pages, and meeting the planning team around town. There are community meetings on December 7 (virtual) and 10 (McBeth Recreation Center), plus six pop-ups between November 17 and December 17.

More information about the Zilker Vision Plan, including overviews, important documents, and community schedules, is available at austintexas.gov. Only a small portion of the information available through the plan is reflected in this article.

Photo courtesy of the Den Foundation

UT football star gains yards for unhoused Austinites in pledge with local nonprofits

Rushing Forward

To non-football fans, gaining a yard may not really change lives. But running back Bijan Robinson, number 5 on the Texas Longhorns, is making sure the ground he gains is really going the distance for Austin communities, with a $5-per-yard pledge to improve the lives of chronically homeless people.

For every yard Robinson gains, home-building nonprofit the Den Foundation will donate $5 to the Community First! Village, a mixed-income co-op in far East Austin that fosters community among formerly unhoused Austinites and live-in neighborhood ambassadors. The small pledge, dubbed Den5for5, adds up quickly: Robinson has gained more than 2,000 yards in career rushing yards since 2020, and 1,472 of those since the start of the initiative. By November 15, the pledged amount for the season totaled $7,360.

To amplify the contribution, fans at home, or anyone who likes a challenge, are invited to match the pledge or join at one-hundredth of the scale: 5 cents per yard, which by now would total $73.60. (Donors will have to do their own math using a one-time donation form, since there is no automated system.)

Robinson was a clear fit for the initiative as the new team representative on the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) at the University of Texas. He joins returning reps Ben Ballard, Jake Majors, and Moro Ojomo, who use their understanding of player needs to coordinate with athletic department administrators.

"After seeing the work that Alan and the Mobile Loaves & Fishes team do at Community First! Village, I couldn't help but want to get involved,” said Robinson in a press release. “It saddens me when I see someone living on the street, and I always try to do as much as I can, but this partnership with Den allows me to help at a higher level. I hope others will be inspired by the CFV story as much as I am, and will join us in making an impact on the Austin community.”

Community First! Village operates a neighborhood of nearly 30 acres, eventually totaling 51 when Phase II of the master plan is complete. The current capacity at Phase I can support more than 200 formerly homeless residents (with disabilities, who meet the standards for chronic homelessness), and folds those residents into a mostly self-sufficient community. Residents take jobs around the neighborhood, and people from surrounding communities are encouraged to visit for events like movie nights, markets, and voting.

The efforts of Community First! Village are deeply in line with those of the Den Foundation, which emphasizes the same goals to provide shelter, champion a healthy artistic community, and provide important advancement opportunities in education. Both organizations work on a foundational belief in well-rounded community care.

“The Den Foundation is honored to be partnering up with Bijan Robinson in our efforts to support Community First! Village,” said Den Foundation Director Jonny Rodgers. “Bijan is a world-class athlete no doubt, but it was his character and faith that made this an easy partnership. We’re proud to stand with Bijan in our efforts to eradicate homelessness right here in Austin, Texas. And remember … what starts here, changes the world!”

A tracker showing Robinson’s yardage since the beginning of the initiative is available at den5for5.com.

Photo by Guillermo Rosas

Austinites score a ton of fun at CultureMap's first-ever Tailgate party

score big

Austin's biggest sports fans partied overtime at CultureMap's newest signature event, The Tailgate.

Held at Distribution Hall on November 3, the celebration of all things sports attracted a crowd ready to have some game day fun.

And they certainly didn't go hungry. Past CultureMap Tastemaker Awards winners and nominees brought snacks galore, from sliders to grilled corn to chicken wings and more.

Guests could vote for their favorite munchies, leading to San Antonio's The Jerk Shack taking home the trophy for their Caribbean ceviche and rum raisin brownie bites. Bratwurst with beer onions from Koko's Bavarian and cookies and milk from Mare Made cookies also earned raves. Drool over a full list of the snacks here.

Those looking to scoop up ideas for their next watch party could sample catering from Whole Foods Market, then walk away with a stadium-approved clear backpack filled with snacks, samples, and coupons for future purchases.

No one's cup ran dry, thanks to bars stocked with Real Ale Brewing Co. beers, Austin Cocktails, and specialty drinks featuring Dripping Springs Vodka and Brothers Bond Bourbon.

Three previous Tastemaker Awards Brewery of the Year winners were serving up suds samples to thirsty tailgaters: Meanwhile Brewing, Dorcol Distilling & Brewing Co., and Blue Owl Brewing.

In between bites and sips, guests browsed a silent auction stuffed with valuable sports memorabilia, with a portion of proceeds benefitting our nonprofit partners.

Attendees could also learn more about and donate to each of the event's nonprofit partners.

Save Muny co-chair Scotty Sayers, board member Ed Clements, and local golf professional Joe Beck were talking all things golf for Save Muny (The Muny Conservancy). As the first public course in the South to racially desegregate, Lions Municipal Golf Course is listed in the National Register of Historic Places. The Muny Conservancy was created in 2019 to help permanently preserve and improve this iconic Austin recreational green space, and to help make sure all 141 acres are saved for future generations to enjoy, with affordable golf, public accessibility, the civil rights history of the site, and promotion of the game in mind.

Former Longhorn legend Derrick Johnson signed autographs and posed for pics in support of his foundation, Defend the Dream. Started in 2012, the foundation connects low-income and inner city youths with better resources and opportunities. Recently, the foundation presented Austin’s first Discovery Den to Oak Springs Elementary School. Defend the Dream has been installing Discovery Dens in other schools for years, transforming school library spaces into well-stocked, football-themed reading areas with bright colors and lots of seating.

Photo by Guillermo Rosas

Spencer McGee, Amy Cole

Spotted among the sea of jerseys were David Lyne, Amber Hart-Lyne, Ashley Nwonuma, Dominique McLeggan, Gina Dhaddey, Dom Powel, Amy Cole, Spencer McGee, Lauren Glanzer, Dana Plumpe, Richie and Carlie Berry, and Sabrina and Ricardo Cortez.

Photo courtesy of Defend the Dream Foundation

These sporty nonprofits are bringing athletes and inspiration to The Tailgate

Work Together

If you've been psyching yourself up for The Tailgate on November 3 (keep reading for a ticket deal), you likely already know what we'll be serving and what you might want to wear.

But a key component of our newest party is shining a spotlight on sports-related nonprofits — and you'll even get to meet some of the athletes that champion these important causes.

Read up on who's going to be there and how you can get involved in their life-changing work:

The Muny Conservancy (Save Muny)
As the first public course in the South to racially desegregate, Lions Municipal Golf Course is listed in the National Register of Historic Places. The Muny Conservancy was created in 2019 to help permanently preserve and improve this iconic Austin recreational green space, and to help make sure all 141 acres are saved for future generations to enjoy, with affordable golf, public accessibility, the civil rights history of the site, and promotion of the game in mind. The wildlife, heritage oaks, and 18 holes of golf have been an important part of Austin's parkland since 1924.

For almost a century, Lions Municipal Golf Course has leased the land on which it sits from the University of Texas. Now, the University is ready to determine a permanent use for these 141 acres. Once the course is preserved, The Muny Conservancy has plans to restore and improve the course with award-winning golf course architecture firm Coore & Crenshaw, and create a dynamic public facility where everyone can not only play golf, but gather and enjoy community activities like farmers markets, music events, and more.

The goal is to keep Muny as a place where families and children of all ages can learn and practice the core values that golf teaches, like honesty, integrity, and good sportsmanship. There are also plans to build a teaching center that honors the historic integration of a legendary public golf course, and the courageous people who made that happen.

Save Muny co-chair Scotty Sayers, board member Ed Clements, and local golf professional Joe Beck will be at The Tailgate to talk all things Muny and golf.

Score some sweet Save Muny merch (with all sales going to the nonprofit), sign a petition to preserve the course, play some putt-putt, and enter to win four tickets to the second annual Imagine Muny Gala in February, 2023.

Defend the Dream Foundation
Derrick Johnson, a former Texas Longhorn who played with the Kansas City Chiefs and garnered prestige in both positions, started Defend the Dream in 2012 to connect low-income and inner city youths with better resources and opportunities. He moved back to Austin in 2019 to help support the nonprofit even further.

Recently, the foundation presented Austin’s first Discovery Den to Oak Springs Elementary School, in East Austin near Airport Boulevard. Defend the Dream has been installing Discovery Dens in other schools for years, transforming school library spaces into well-stocked, football-themed reading areas with bright colors and lots of seating.

The goal is to create a comfortable and engaging space to encourage reading. In this case, it’s nearly $58,000 of donations for a “multi-functional space,” with donated furniture, bookshelves, and new flooring. In addition to a more exciting atmosphere, this donation covers more than 1,000 new books, selected for diversity, in an effort to modernize the current library selection. Langford Elementary and Pickle Elementary schools are next to receive their own Discovery Dens.

You can meet Johnson at The Tailgate, as well as pose for pics and get his autograph.

How to buy tickets
Fired up to make a difference in your community? Show up to The Tailgate on November 3 at Distribution Hall, where delicious food and drink, fun games, and representatives from both nonprofits will be waiting.

Get your tickets now, and use promo code DONATE to get 50 percent off your ticket price. Plus, CultureMap will donate 100 percent of your ticket purchase back to these participating charities.

Photo courtesy of Defend the Dream Foundation

Derrick Johnson is connecting kids with better resources and opportunities.

Courtesy of Austin FC

8 hot spots to cheer on Austin FC in the Western Conference Final this weekend

FC you at the bar

Good news for this part of Texas: Austin FC prevailed against FC Dallas in the 2022 Western Conference Semifinal, which means they’re off to the Western Conferene Final on Sunday, October 30. Sad news for this part of Texas: the team is traveling to Los Angeles to do it. Still, away games are no match for Austinites, who have plenty of bars to gather at and cheer on the team.

Most Austinites likely already have a favorite bar — and who are we to tell you to go anywhere else? — but these eight venues are great places to branch out. These are fun, inclusive places to get deals, spice up the home couch routine, and hang out with non-soccer-loving friends and partners who are doing their best.

Austin FC maintains a list of official bar partners, who have committed to being official viewing locations throughout the season. Half of this list are bar partners. Check the list to see which bars in your neighborhood have committed, but keep in mind that these are all long-term partners, and may not plan anything specific for this game.

Live Oak Park (official watch party)
Not that there will be any penalties for going to another bar (offsides?), but this is the official watch party as declared by Austin FC. It promises the “biggest Watch Party in Austin FC history,” right at Q2 Stadium in Live Oak Park. Attendees who have beat the rest of the crowds (there’s limited space) will get special drink prices, a shot at playoff merch, and a chance to win a poster giveaway. RSVP on the Austin FC app.

Hopsquad Brewing Company
Hopsquad Brewing Company has been following the playoffs weekly, and is ready for the next with $5 beers all day. The brewer is selling its own jerseys and shirts — day-of sales get a free six-pack and a free pint, respectively. Peña Madridista Austin (the local Real Madrid supporters club) will be watching their game just before the AFC game, so it’s a soccer-heavy day for everyone. Things kick off at 10 am.

Little Woodrow’s
Little Woodrow’s, one of the local favorite equalizers for sports fans and revelers just looking for a good atmosphere, is one of the easiest places to catch a game. Each of the six locations is a little different, but the old hole-in-the-wall vibes are always perfect. If Austin FC scores three goals, patrons get $3 Michelob Ultra drafts.

B. D. Riley’s Irish Pub
Green supports green, and B. D. Riley’s Irish Pub is one of Austin FC’s loudest supporters throughout the season, advertising every game on social media. If this is your home bar it’s a no-brainer, but non-neighbors looking for a little more team spirit should stop by this bar partner (and get there early in hopes that space doesn’t run out).

Warehouse Billiard Bar
Yes, it’d be great to get the whole gang involved in the game, but if you always have some folks looking a little left out, a game of pool is a great way to make sure everyone’s having a good time. Plus, tables are always half off on Sundays. Patrons can also play foosball, darts, and other old fashioned arcade games, while enjoying frozen drinks.

Haymaker
One official bar partner, Haymaker, hosts frequent viewing events for many teams, and rarely misses an opportunity to turn something into a party. This bar is known for its sandwiches and poutine, which far outpace most standard bar food. Sundays mean $4 mimosas, sangria, and bloody marys, and there are plenty of craft and natural beers to choose from.

Austin Eastciders
Another official bar partner, Austin Eastciders brings a sweeter option than your typical game day brew. In fact, since last February, these are the official cider for the football club. The Barton Springs location will be serving its regular Sunday brunch until an hour into the game (3 pm), and $4 pints until the game ends. (The Collabaoratory is closed on game day for an event.)

Bouldin Acres
For something more like tailgating vibes, visit the lawn at Bouldin Acres. This laid-back bar partner has lots of backyard seating, two pickleball courts, and is pet-friendly. There are also food trucks-on site, lawn games, and pretty much everything you’d need to entertain anyone tagging along for a fun outdoor day.

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CultureMap Emails are Awesome

H-E-B unveils merch for super fans, plus more hot Austin headlines

Hot Headlines

Editor’s note: It’s that time again — time to check in with our top stories. Here are five articles that captured our collective attention over the past seven days.

1. H-E-B unveils merchandise for brand super fans, available exclusively at one store. Kerrville was chosen to launch the company's new line of H-E-B-branded merchandise in celebration of its 117th anniversary.

2. Austin bar transforms into a magical winter wonderland this holiday season. Don your favorite elf socks and meet the lovely citizens of “Tinseltown.”

3. Draft 'Vision Plan' for Zilker Park unveils land bridge and more possibilities. Austinites are invited to comment on a vision plan that will inform the future of Zilker Park.

4. Austin ranks among world’s 100 best cities in prestigious new report. Austin is the No. 43 best city in the world, according to a new study. (And yes, we beat Dallas.)

5. Austin airport launches new SkySquad travel assistants in time for the holiday rush. Austin-Bergstrom International Airport is keeping lines moving during a period of heavy travel with a new team of airport assistants.

Steven Spielberg opens up personal history in The Fabelmans

Movie Review

For over 40 years, director Steven Spielberg has been delivering some of the most popular blockbuster movies of all time as well as a bevy of Oscar-quality dramas, a combination that’s unique to him. For his latest, The Fabelmans, he’s decided to go more personal than ever, telling a thinly-veiled version of his own childhood.

Sammy (played mostly by Gabriel LaBelle) is one of four children – and the only son – of Mitzi (Michelle Williams), a concert pianist, and Burt Fabelman (Paul Dano), a computer engineer. From an early age, Sammy is enthralled by the art of filmmaking, first remaking a train crash sequence from The Greatest Show on Earth, and gradually moving on to more adventurous stories.

Burt’s advancing career, which moves the family from New Jersey to Arizona to California, causes stress for various members of the family, most notably Sammy and Mitzi. Sammy must deal with anti-Semitic bullies, while Mitzi falls deeper into a mental health crisis. Sammy’s movies continually offer a respite for the family, though, giving him a creative outlet and the rest of them a chance to forget their troubles for a while.

Written by Spielberg – his first writing effort since 2001’s A.I. Artificial Intelligence – and Tony Kushner, the film is heavy on emotions but presented in a way that those feelings don’t always translate. Spielberg is no stranger to depicting fraught family situations in his long career, but in showing ones from his own family, it feels like he pulled back, not wanting the scenes to be overwrought or schmaltzy.

The result is a story that isn’t as universal as some of his other films. As the film is told from Sammy’s perspective, it’s easy to get caught up in his pursuits and various discoveries as he gets older. The mindsets of the rest of the family are less clear, even though his parents and sisters are ever-present. Mitzi’s state of mind is a concern from the start, but it’s not always treated as such by other important characters.

Just as Sammy’s movies are an escape for his family, so too are they some of the best parts of the film. Sammy figuring out the process and secrets of filmmaking is informative and often thrilling, especially if you’re a cinephile. Spielberg has been considered a master for so long that watching him revisit the days when he was learning as he went is catnip for movie lovers.

In addition to being a dead ringer for a teenage Spielberg, LaBelle is a fantastic actor. It’s no easy feat to carry a movie on your shoulders, and LaBelle makes the assignment look easy. Williams’ performance will likely be more polarizing; she employs a very mannered speech pattern that works in some situations, but not all. The film also includes memorable short appearances by Seth Rogen, Judd Hirsch, and David Lynch.

Spielberg has provided the moviegoing public with such pleasure over the years that he deserves to have a movie that’s mostly for him. The initial viewing of The Fabelmans left this critic wanting, but perhaps it will gain more traction on a second screening.

---

The Fabelmans is now playing in theaters.

Photo by Merie Weismuller Wallace/Universal Pictures and Amblin Entertainment

Gabriel LaBelle in The Fabelmans

Texas billionaire Tilman Fertitta acquires award-winning California resort

tilman goes laguna

Fans of Tilman Fertitta's nationwide hospitality brands are in for a treat. The Billion Dollar Buyer has just secured an award-winning, 30-acre resort in sunny Southern California.

Fertitta has purchased the acclaimed Montage Laguna Beach Resort Hotel, a premier beachfront property in the sunny SoCal getaway destination. Notably, the Montage Laguna Beach Resort Hotel is one of only six hotels in the U.S. to score the Forbes Triple Five-Star hotel status. The Montage has also been included among Travel + Leisure’s Top Hotels in the World.

Image courtesy of Montage Laguna Beach

Fertitta's newest purchase overlooks the ocean in Laguna Beach.

“I am truly thrilled to acquire this world-renowned property and add one of America’s most iconic trophy resorts to our luxury hotel portfolio,” Fertitta noted in a statement. “I have been traveling to Laguna Beach for over 30 years. It is one of my favorite places to visit and one of the most beautiful areas in the world. The Montage is a stunning oceanfront property and one of the premier hotel brands in the world.”

Press materials didn't list the property purchase price, but Law360 reports that the deal is in excess of $660 million.

The Craftsman-style resort sits on a coastal bluff overlooking the Pacific Ocean. Impressive amenities are highlighted by the 20,000-square-foot Spa Montage, which offers eucalyptus steam rooms, dry redwood saunas, ocean air whirlpools, fireplace lounges, a state-of-the-art fitness center, a movement studio, and a lap pool.

More outdoor fun includes two pools and direct beach access, a museum-quality fine art collection, and more than 20,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor meeting space, per press materials.

Every resident space — the 260 guestrooms, including 60 suites, beach bungalow-style rooms, and multi-bedroom villas — boast stunning views of the Pacific.

Dining destinations offer chef-driven interpretations of coastal California flavors inspired by region. The property is designated and included in the distinctive Legend Collection of Preferred Hotels & Resorts Worldwide.

“We are thrilled that Tilman is the new owner of this one-of-a-kind property and welcome him into the Montage family,” said Alan Fuerstman, founder, CEO, and chairman of Montage International. Mary Rogers, the Montage's GM added, “The staff is thrilled to be working with Tilman. Everyone here at the property is tremendously excited about his purchase and look forward to continuing to provide a world-class experience to all of our guests."

Aside from his palatial Post Oak Hotel in Houston, Fertitta also owns 14 other hotel properties around the country, including the award-winning San Luis Resort in Galveston, plus five popular Golden Nugget casino and hotel locations.

Another feather in Fertitta’s luxury portfolio cap is the iconic Huntting Inn, one of the most charming and historic locales in East Hampton, New York.

No stranger to California, Fertitta's presence there includes Catch Seafood and Catch Steak, Mastro’s Ocean Club and Mastro’s Steakhouse, Morton’s The Steakhouse, Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steakhouse, The Palm, and more — all part of his 60 brands and more than 600 concepts nationwide.