Plans for a Marble Falls hotel/conference center are moving along.
The Marble Falls Economic Development Corporation signed an amendment to a 2019 memorandum of understanding, extending an agreement with a Texas-based management, marketing, and development firm tasked with helping to bring a hotel/conference center to the downtown area.
The amendment, signed June 3, pushes the agreement with Phoenix Hospitality Group to August 31, 2020, continuing the development of a hotel/conference center, which has been delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Everyone enjoyed working together, and we felt like there was still good work to do,” said EDC Executive Director Christian Fletcher. “We did a first amendment to the MOU that extended the agreement through May 31. The second amendment to the MOU takes it through the end of August.”
Part of the agreement includes the reimbursement of pre-development costs incurred by the EDC. These include an architect site tour for a concept package, said concept package, and preliminary pricing as well as a geotechnical report, which is pending.
“The only thing that has not been done is the geotech, and that is because, basically, when they drill piers to determine soil conditions, they need to have a definitive architectural set (of plans) in order to figure out where the piers would go,” Fletcher said.
Another component of the project is which corporation, if any, the EDC could potentially partner with to “flag” the hotel. Phoenix Hospitality Group currently directs and operates Hotel Indigo San Antonio Riverwalk, Embassy Suites San Antonio Conference Center & Spa, Doubletree San Antonio Downtown, and others.
To flag a hotel means a larger corporation owns and operates it, whereas a boutique hotel is usually independently owned and operated.
“We had talked about the most appropriate approach in terms of either independent or flagged,” Fletcher said. “They have really good relationships with all of the major flags, and we still want the property to feel like a boutique hotel, so it’s not likely to have a Hilton or a Marriott or one of those major flags.”
The hotel/conference center has long eluded the city. The EDC has, in the past, rolled out renderings and plans for a 151-room, five-level structure while working with former development partner Novak Cobalt, but those plans ultimately failed to materialize.