The Marble Falls Economic Development Corp. voted to enter into the schematic design portion of a $30 million hotel and conference center project with Phoenix Hospitality Group during a special meeting Wednesday, March 24. The EDC agreed to pay $200,000 for completion of the plans.
“In order to open the hotel and conference center in early 2023, we needed to take this step to keep things moving in the right direction,” said EDC Director Christian Fletcher in an email to DailyTrib.com.
The EDC intends to create a boutique hotel as part of Hilton’s Tapestry Collection. Plans for the 16,000-square-foot hotel include approximately 120 rooms, a full-service conference center, and a restaurant and bar.
In 2014, the EDC purchased land along Yett Street and the Marble Falls lakefront with the idea of putting a hotel and conference center at that location. Since then, the project has faced several planning setbacks, Fletcher said.
In 2019, the EDC began making moves toward project completion through a partnership with Phoenix Hospitality Group, a hotel management and development group. The EDC extended its agreement with the group earlier this year.
Conceptual designs represent about 30 percent of the project, Fletcher said.
“This is what Hilton requires in order to approve the franchise license agreement as well as to get some things rolling with the city and their permit process,” he explained during the Wednesday meeting.
Phoenix Hospitality has until July this year to complete the designs. Once finished and approved, work can begin on the permitting and construction phases.
Investors have been slower to commit to projects because of the COVID-19 pandemic’s economic impact on the hospitality industry, Fletcher said. As business continues to pick up in 2021, moving into this next phase will put the EDC “first in line when the capital markets open up and start lending again for hospitality projects,” he continued.
The majority of the project should be funded through a $15 million loan from a private investor/sponsor and funds provided by private equity partners. The EDC will provide the remaining $6 million, which includes the value of the land.