Hotel, Conference Center to Break Ground in Pflugerville

Nicole Barrios, Austin Community Newspapers Staff

A hotel and conference center in Pflugerville has officials planning for an increase in tourism and business to the city.

Construction crews for the Courtyard by Marriott are slated to break ground on the project Nov. 12. A three-month extension approved by the Pflugerville City Council for the project allows for developers to increase the hotel size from a minimum of 120 rooms to over 140 rooms, said Terri Toledo, city public information officer.

The Courtyard by Marriott will feature a 17,500 square-foot conference center and will be located in 130 Commerce Center at the southwest corner of Highway 130 and Pecan Street.

130 Commerce Center currently houses a FedEx facility and the Community Impact offices, manufacturing companies, distribution warehouses and an indoor batting cage facility among other businesses, said Amy Madison, interim executive director of the Pflugerville Community Development Corporation.

Some open space remains at the center for additional businesses, she said.

Another hotel, a 70-room Best Western Plus, is currently under construction in the 130 Commerce Center as well, Toledo said. That hotel is expected to open by early 2016, Madison said.

In May, the Council passed an incentives package to support the Marriott hotel and conference center.

A $125,000 marketing budget for advertising was funded by the PCDC for the new development, Madison said.

The package also includes waiving city permit fees and up to $625,000 in incentives per year from the hotel occupancy tax, Toledo said.

The 6.5-acre development site was sold at the “low end of the market rate” at $2.50 per square foot. The actual market rate was a little over $3.50 per square foot, Madison said.

Toledo said the hotel and conference center will support business, business travel and tourism.

“All the different festivals that Pflugerville has bring hundreds of thousands of people to the city annually, (and those people) will be able to now stay in our community,” Madison said. “(The hotels) will fill the need for all types of uses whether that be business or pleasure, vacationers or business folks alike.”

Toledo said the Courtyard Marriott’s location along the Highway 130 corridor will bring people to stay at the hotel who are going to Hawaiian Falls water park or attending events in North Austin.

Councilwoman Starlet Sattler said residents and nonresidents have approached her and expressed a desire for a hotel and conference center within the city.

“I’ve actually had people contact me from Houston and other areas that come in for soccer and things at the Northeast Metro Park that say, ‘Why haven’t you people built a hotel?’ ” Sattler said. “I think it’s going to be a great asset actually.”

Sattler said people coming to the Formula 1 races at Circuit of the Americas will want to stay at the hotel.

“(The hotel and conference center) will bring dollars into the city because right now everyone who comes here and has to stay goes to Austin or into Round Rock,” Sattler said. “I’ve heard a number of people commenting locally that we need a place to keep the money and dollars here.”

Madison said the conference center is about five minutes away from the Austin Executive Airport in North Austin, which allows corporate travel in and out of the area. The center is roughly 22 miles from Austin-Bergstrom International Airport.

Patricia Gervan-Brown, Pflugerville Chamber of Commerce president and CEO, said the chamber has heard for decades from businesses in the area wanting a conference center.

“This hotel with the convention center is going to give us a lot more options for hosting various events, larger events,” she said.

The chamber frequently gets inquiries from businesses or event organizers looking for large meeting facilities, but the city has had no such facilities, she said.

The Courtyard Marriott hotel will feature a full service restaurant, lounge and coffee area, according to a presentation given to the Council.

The meeting and conference space will be approximately 20,000 square feet and hold 750 people for dinner or 1,000 people for a reception, according to the presentation.

A 1,000-square foot fitness center, pool and patio area are also included in the design plans, according to the presentation.

Nicole Barrios, Austin Community Newspapers, Statesman, 9/14/15
View Original Story HERE