Tuesday, October 8, 2013

'Marriott' Brand Hotel Proposed for Downtown (Updated)

Update: City Council took no action on the agenda item at today's meeting. City officials need time to review the newest version of the proposal before making a decision.

Original Story:
City to Review, Vote on Incentives Today

A new, 15-story hotel may be built in Downtown El Paso in the coming years if a proposal is approved by City Council this week. Jim Scherr, the El Paso businessman who renovated the long-blighted International Hotel several years ago and turned it into the DoubleTree Hotel, would like to bring a new Courtyard by Marriott to Downtown but says he needs the City’s help to make it happen.
The proposed Courtyard by Marriott would be built adjacent to the DoubleTree Hotel.

Scherr has developed plans for the $17 million hotel at the corner of Wyoming Avenue and North El Paso Street, a stone’s throw from Interstate 10, which will add 140 rooms to Downtown’s inventory. The property currently has a parking lot that serves the adjacent DoubleTree Hotel.

Concept images of the new hotel released by Scherr on Friday show a relatively narrow hotel that will share a wall with the DoubleTree. A parking garage will occupy the first few levels with the hotel above it. Like the DoubleTree, the rendering shows that the Courtyard may have an outdoor balcony.

A surface parking lot next to the DoubleTree
Hotel could become a new 15-story hotel.
Despite having less floors than the DoubleTree, the new hotel will be about as tall due to the sloping property and configuration of the parking garage. The area where the new hotel would be built is on the northern side of the lot.

Scherr told media outlets that he is seeking a similar incentives package to what he received with the DoubleTree project. He told the El Paso Times that he will not proceed with the Courtyard by Marriott project if incentives are not approved.

Despite Scherr’s hope that the deal will be similar to the DoubleTree project, the new development would begin in a different place. The Courtyard would be built from the ground-up while the DoubleTree rehabilitated a blighted and vacant building.

This is the third Downtown hotel project the City has encountered this year. City Council approved an incentives package in June for a 115-room hotel project at the former Artisan Hotel site. And in July, the Historic Landmark Commission approved a new fa├žade plan for an adaptive reuse project that will turn a vacant building into a boutique hotel on Stanton Street.

City Council will weigh its options this week for the new Courtyard by Marriott project; the incentives package is on the agenda for the Tuesday, October 8 meeting. No timeline has been revealed for the project if it is approved.