East Avenue, running parallel to Rainey Street on the southeastern edge of downtown Austin, gets a lot of attention from this site. That’s because despite its slightly lesser-known status compared to Rainey Street proper, it currently hosts many promising developments expanding the overall Rainey Street District.
Everyone loves betting an on underdog, and it’s kinda started paying off — we now have additional details on two hotel projects currently moving through the planning stages on East Avenue, set to join the pretty bonkers-looking Homewood Suites that opened there earlier this year. Let’s talk about them.
Cambria Hotel – 68-72 East Avenue
We’ve followed the saga of East Avenue’s Cambria Hotel, an outpost of the upmarket brand by Choice Hotels International, since it came on the scene in 2017. Planned at the land assembly spanning 68-72 East Avenue, the project didn’t seem like a sure thing for a while — it dropped off the map for about a year before finally returning from the dead with some new city site plan filings a few months ago.
Still, back in January we had no idea what the building would really look like, and judging by some of the chain’s other properties we weren’t expecting all that much. Turns out we were super wrong.
Here are two previously-unseen images of the Cambria project — this latest design recently appeared in two separate LinkedIn posts by Choice Hotels developer Scott N. Lockwood and the Cambria project’s engineering firm VCA Structural, the latter describing it as a 15-story building with 212 rooms:
Though local firm Rhode Partners was originally listed as the building’s architect in earlier city filings, the first image above also included a caption naming California outfit Hannouche Architects as designers — we had to crop that part out since the picture was so freakin’ tall — so it’s unclear if both companies are working on the project now, or if Rhode Partners got replaced.
One detail from the second image worth noting is that the hotel’s garage is seen being accessed from the alley located between Rainey Street and East Avenue, which is currently unpaved. The various urban design possibilities enabled by paving that alley have been considered for years now, and the Cambria might just get it off the ground.
We don’t know any further details on the hotel’s features or construction timeline, but the renderings are certainly enough to get excited about for now. Naturally, you’ll find out more about this project the moment we do.
Lady Bird Hotel – 62 East Avenue
On a .27-acre tract just a little down the avenue from the Cambria site and closer to the corner of East Avenue and River Street, recent city filings describe plans for a boutique project called the Lady Bird Hotel. This address, 62 East Avenue, was announced years ago as the site of a second Kimber Modern hotel, but that version of the development later fell through and we haven’t heard an update until now.
The property’s still owned by an LLC associated with the Kimber Modern and its founder Kimber Cavendish, but as described in the 2015 article about the failure of the original plan, it’s made clear that any new project here won’t fall under the Kimber branding. So, what’s the new version look like?
City documents outline the new hotel as containing three floors and 22 rooms, with a seriously unique design — 18 of the rooms are described as micro-units, clocking in at a tiny 157 square feet. These, along with three larger suites and one ADA-compliant room, are joined by a restaurant and bar, all wrapped around a central pool and courtyard space. This design is enabled by the hotel having no on-site parking, though it appears to include some bike racks!
Though we certainly don’t have all the details yet, these plans name Baldridge Architects as the Lady Bird Hotel’s designer — a local firm that previously designed both the Kimber Modern hotel on South Congress Avenue and the unrealized Kimber Modern project at this same site.
It’s all nice and mysterious, isn’t it?