162-room hotel to open on the Drag next to decades-old dive bar

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AUSTIN (KXAN) — Construction is underway at the intersection of Guadalupe St. and West 26th St. for a hotel that’s scheduled to open in late 2020.

White Lodging announced it’s building Texas’ first Moxy Hotel, which is “designed for the young and the young at heart.”

They said in a news release:

“The communal space on the ground floor of Moxy Austin hotel will serve as the hub for the hotel, giving guests exciting ways to work hard and prioritize play. The shared spaces will include White Lodging’s food-truck inspired 24-hour taco concept, Zombie Taco, and pick-up bites in the lobby, game tables in the public space, and an interactive digital guestbook which streams Instagram images and videos from Moxy guests around the globe.”

In addition, the hotel’s bar will double as the check-in desk.

White Lodging’s Moxy Austin at Guadalupe St. and 26th Street.

“[It’s] very exciting,” said Jay Spurr, Regional Director for Sales and Marketing for White Lodging Austin. “The project’s been on the table for a while, and we’re glad to see it’s finally coming out of the ground.”

The hotel is in the West Campus area near the University of Texas at Austin. Its next door neighbor will be a bar and music venue that opened on the Drag in 1974, Hole in the Wall.

Many students said they were surprised to hear a hotel is opening right on the Drag, but students who’ve been advocating for a safer West Campus said, “I think it might be a very positive change.”

Kacey Vandervort with UT Austin’s Student Safety Group said, “Hopefully adding a hotel right there, adding all the guests will increase foot traffic,” and especially at night, she said, “More people out on the streets makes people feel safer.”

“We believe in the campus district. We’re going to help revitalize this area,” said Spurr. “There’s a lot of guests that come to this area. We want to be able to provide them with a great hotel, a great accommodation and a fun atmosphere.”

Demand for hotels in Austin

Commercial real estate company JLL said there are about 10,000 hotel rooms in Austin’s Central Business District. About half opened in the last 9 years.

Building more in downtown, Joe Dowdle with JLL said, isn’t always easy.

“All the easy sites have been developed, so you have to deal with issues like the Capitol View Corridor,” he said. “They can go right through your property and heavily restrict how much density you can get on that site.”

UT is just north of downtown. Dowdle said because the school can have conferences and guest speakers, that area can be good for hotels.

He said one of the key success factors is “How do you get people to rent your room during the week.”

According to another commercial real estate firm, CBRE’s research, the demand for hotels will continue to grow.

They expect the average daily rate to increase by about 2% over the next year, and hotels in the Central Business District will have close to 80% occupancy rates.

Dowdle said, “A lot of people are excited to be developing whatever they’re developing in Austin, and I think chances are they’re going to be okay, they’re going to be successful.”

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