All of Liz Lambert’s chic hotels on South Congress Avenue are named after saints. San Jose. Saint Cecilia.
Lambert’s upcoming creation — Hotel Magdalena — is named after Mary Magdalene, and is looking to be the grandest of them all.
This new five-story boutique hotel and residences will sit just off South Congress, clocking in at 95 hotel rooms and seven condos. The 70,000-square-foot hotel will also include 2,000 square feet on the ground floor devoted to restaurant, bar, and event space.
The initial design concept has divided the hotel into five distinct buildings connected by exterior circulation and courtyards, along with high sustainability goals, including net zero energy and water.
Hotel Magdalena will be located directly behind Doc’s, and practically adjacent to Hotel Saint Cecilia, at 1101 Music Lane, previously home to the Terrace Apartment complex, which presumably will be demolished.
The project is planned to open in 2017, and would mark a full circle from the 1990s when Lambert was a practicing lawyer fresh from stint in the Manhattan District Attorney’s office. The story goes that having returned to Austin to work at the Texas AG, Lambert was hanging at Continental Club and noticed the rundown San Jose Motel across the street.
Fast forward to current day and Lambert’s business affiliate have, according to one website, raised at least $22 million in equity financing for Magdalena.
Now, to be fair, Magdalena is not a solo Lambert project. Last year, Lambert sold 51 percent of her hospitality company to Standard International Management LLC — a trendy hotel line with properties in New York, Los Angeles and Miami. To wit, the company is also now developing Hotel San Cristóbal in Baja California Sur.
That being said, I’m still going to credit this to Liz and am excited to see the fruits of her effort!
Fascinatingly, Lambert is sort of giving a hat tip to the roots of South Congress.
Years ago, the Terrace Motor Hotel would have sat one block away (now the site of the State House apartments). It was promoted as the largest motor lodge in Texas, with several hundred rooms, in-room televisions and radios, two swimming pools, and top-caliber restaurants. Naturally, a “swimming pool” was a big draw for hot Texas summers, and TV’s were also a must have, and story goes it was the place to be seen.
However, the hotel’s fortunes mirrored the neighborhood’s, and by the late 1970s, the restaurant had closed and hotel ceased function. At some point, Willie Nelson, is said to have had a stake in the property, before future owners, transformed the site into an apartment complex for the next 40 years.