Los Angeles hospitality development firm BLVD745 plans to build a 128-room, four-story location of its boutique Roadhouse Hotel and Junction brand in Southeast Austin at 2500 Willow Hill Drive, a 2.73-acre site currently occupied by a carwash located near the corner of East Riverside Drive and South Pleasant Valley Road.
This will be the second development in the area to replace a carwash at an address with “Willow” and “Drive” in the name — the Aspen Heights apartment project planned on Willow Creek Drive is only a few blocks west from this site.
Commercial real estate broker Russel Moore, who represents the sale of the property, confirmed that the site is currently under contract, and that the hotel development is in the early stages of feasibility assessments, but is “moving through the process.” According to a preliminary site plan filed with the city, the developer has hired local architect Michael Hsu — previously recognized for the design of the South Congress Hotel, among many other buildings — for the project’s design, along with landscape architects Benkendorfer+Associates and engineering firm Jones|
This fantastically-named hotel would join several nearby developments on the rapidly-developing East Riverside Drive corridor, including the residential and retail project South Shore Highline, located directly to the northwest of the carwash site, along with the 97-acre mixed-use development formerly known as Project Catalyst planned on the northeast side of the intersection of East Riverside Drive and South Pleasant Valley Road.
We don’t have a rendering of the space at this time, but these architectural drawings included in the hotel’s preliminary site plan give us a general impression of its design, with three separate buildings planned:
Developer BLVD745’s existing portfolio includes the restoration of the historic Ace Hotel in downtown Los Angeles, but the Roadhouse brand is its first in-house chain, with multiple locations planned in Southern California — though none are complete at the moment. This potential Austin location would be the developer’s first Texas project.
The hotel’s website contains more information about the features of the chain:
We give you the best mattress, a great shower head, a well-designed room with a thoughtful approach to both men and women, a dedicated communal work space, a coffee shop, a health-conscious grab and go market, and a full-service bar and restaurant. […]
Affordable and convenient: Roadhouse is the hotel for everyone – a community built around its neighborhood with events and social functions for all – from kids to adults. The modern American farmhouse design is reminiscent of simplicity and a return to the roots of hospitality. […]
The restaurant is a component of the ground floor space called Junction – a communal work space, business center, meeting space, market, gym, pool and pool house. Junction is a public space with free high-speed WiFi for hotel guests, travelers, and local residents.
— Roadhouse Hotel and Junction Site
A rendering of the Roadhouse hotel planned in Los Angeles, shown below, includes details similar to the illustrations from the site plan for the Austin location, and might give us a decent idea of what the Willow Hill hotel will eventually look like — at least we know they’ll both have chimneys:
Though this area may not seem like prime real estate for a boutique hotel, keep in mind that it isn’t the first operation of its kind in the general area — the Austin Country Club was located just down the street from 1950 to 1984, and with the opening of Oracle’s corporate campus only a few blocks away, this hotel is likely set to fill a new need in the local market. Perhaps more importantly, by replacing a carwash instead of a residential property, the project isn’t directly displacing anyone from the neighborhood — an issue we’ll probably be forced to recognize as the corridor continues its rapid development.