Monday, June 17, 2013

City Council to Vote on Project to Revive Vacant Downtown Hotel (Updated)

Former Artisan Building Has Potential Buyer

Update: City Council approved the incentives package. The developer, Summit 11 Investment Group, will now have 90 days to purchase the building from the U.S. Bankruptcy Court.

Original Story: 
A downtown hotel with a troubled past may get another shot if City Council approves an incentives package for an interested buyer. The former Artisan Hotel, which was open for five months before closing amid the owner’s bankruptcy, has been largely vacant for the past ten years. Now, an investment group would like to purchase the building and turn it into a 115-room brand name hotel.

The former Artisan Hotel sits vacant in
downtown El Paso. (
Summit 11 Investment Group, LLC, will spend at least $8 million to completely gut the interior of the hotel and reconstruct brand new hotel rooms within the structure. The 60,000 square foot hotel will include over 100 rooms, meeting and banquet space, an on-site restaurant and bar, a renovated pool, and a rooftop spa and fitness facility. The group will also renovate the exterior to have a modern, “avant garde design.”

The City’s Chapter 380 agreement incentives include a ten year property tax rebate on the City’s portion, a ten year ground floor sales tax rebate on the City’s portion for retailers, a ten year alcohol tax rebate, and a parking and room block commitment from the City.

As part of the agreement, the hotel will have to carry a brand name from the Marriott, Starwood, Hilton, or IHG chain of hotels. IHG hotel choices are limited to Holiday Inn, Crowne Plaza, or Hotel Indigo.

Summit 11 will have 90 days to purchase the building if the agreement is approved and six months to begin construction. The hotel must be open for business within 24 months, or approximately in June of 2015. Summit currently operates two hotels in El Paso, the Holiday Inn El Paso Airport and the Comfort Inn & Suites Airport, according to the City’s agenda item.

The vacant downtown hotel building, located at 325 N. Kansas, is less than two blocks from the new City Hall. City Council will vote on the incentives agreement at its June 18, 2013 meeting.