It’s a big week for hotels on East Seventh Street, according to a permit filed yesterday with the City of Austin. But this case takes a bit more reading between the lines than usual, so it’s a good thing we’re comfortable with idle speculation on this little blog! The mystery permit, a license agreement filed with the city by local engineering firm GarzaEMC on behalf of an unknown developer, describes a “high-rise hotel” to be built somewhere at the intersection of “East Seventh and Trinity” in downtown.
This project will include the construction of a high-rise hotel with associated parking structure, and associated utilities. New utility services will be provided to the proposed building. Civil improvements will also include access driveways, sidewalks, grading, and incorporate other elements required for the new development.
— East Seventh and Trinity License Agreement (No address given)
The most obvious possibility was at the northeast corner, a block-sized property at 701 Trinity Street currently used as a parking lot and known by its original city plan number as Block 87 — we’ve seen multiple plans for towers at this site come and go over the last eight years without turning dirt, but what if the wait is finally over? A source connected with the block’s current owners at Cielo Property Group popped our balloon pretty fast on that one, indicating the permit didn’t refer to Block 87, but rather the southwest corner of the intersection. So what’s going on there?
The quarter-block from 309 to 313 East Seventh Street is owned by an LLC linked with prolific downtown investors the Finley Company, which has provided the land for a number of downtown projects associated with hospitality operators White Lodging, including the JW Marriott and a hotel planned nearby at Fifth and Trinity Streets. Currently occupied by a parking lot, the roughly 0.4-acre assembly is a reasonable amount of space for a hotel building, and unlike the bigger nearby Block 87 site the land is unconstrained by the path of any Capitol View Corridors.
But if connecting a permit for a hotel to a site owned by one of the city’s most notable hotel investors isn’t enough red yarn for your conspiracy board, you’ll appreciate that we actually managed to get a source close to the Finley Company to confirm that yes, there’s a plan for a project at this corner now in the works, and that’s all they could say for now. That’s a lot of exposition for one little permit, but we thought you might appreciate the legwork we put into figuring this out. Who says downtown isn’t fun?