R1070 wrote:I think a Moxy would do well in Oak Lawn. There needs to be more options than just the Melrose.
jetnd87 wrote:Yea would also love to see that dinky house / apartment brokerage building + surface lot across from Primo's developed.
Hilton proposed at Hall Street, Oak Grove and Noble
No, you’re not reading tomorrow’s newspaper. District 14 council member David Blewett is holding a first community meeting as part of an authorized hearing involving the zoning surrounding the Arts District. I figured you’d want me to be there, so here we are.
There are four projects on tonight’s agenda – two new and two repeats. Let’s begin with the new. Above is a proposed Hilton Hotel on the end of the block bounded by Hall Street, Noble, and Oak Grove (a couple of blocks towards Central from Breadwinners). No, you’re not dreaming, that the location of the never-built Dream Hotel approved back in 2015. But it’s not just a Hilton, it’s two of Hilton’s 17 branded property types – Motto and Spark – both operating in the building. While “spark” might conjure up images of pacemakers at work, both Spark and Motto will target the same Millennials the Dream envisioned (as single-word “app style” names do).
What’s the difference between Spark and Motto? About $20 a night.
Sidenote: Am I alone in seeing hotels like the U.S. automakers of old? You remember. When GM sold Oldsmobiles, Pontiacs, and Saturns to appeal to different buyers who were more interested in better quality? Fewer sub-brands with a consistent experience should always be the goal. We shouldn’t have to pick a new trendy name just to better the odds there’ll be a newer mattress or carpet you don’t need antibiotics to walk on. Anyway…
They’re saying it’s most comparable to (another) Hilton brand called Canopy located blocks away – and from an architectural blandness perspective, they’re right (although Canopy has a great rooftop bar which seems to be repeated here). You’re not alone in thinking this bland, cookie-cutter building, designed by Merriman Anderson, screams neither “young” nor “hip”– of course, this rendering’s Soviet gray skin isn’t helping.
It’s typical Hilton, reminiscent of their New York Midtown property, with a recessed glass ground floor for hotel operations and restaurants that are being “held down” by a two-story muffin-top of a parking garage (that’s only enclosed on two sides). The muffin top’s top is the hotel’s amenity deck which will be the subject of noise complaints from the adjacent, quite spendy townhouses.
The hotel is a combination of 15 and 19 story elements that’ll house 121 rooms (Spark) and 196 rooms (Motto). Either way, there will be just 76 parking spaces for 317 rooms (current zoning would require 300 parking spaces). For comparison, the Dream had been approved for 264 rooms.
Since the restaurant is proposed at 2,200 square feet and the meeting space just 1,350, this isn’t a convention or wedding venue that would attract event-driven traffic. I’m on the fence about diminished parking in commercial spaces like this. In a residential building, if there’s no parking you don’t buy/lease. But in a hotel, you don’t know until you arrive. There’s a planned agreement with 3232 McKinney for overflow, so that alleviates some anxiety.
On the upside, there will be wider sidewalks, buried power lines and lower lot coverage. It’s also three stories shorter than it’s zoned for. There’s not much difference from the numbers approved for the Dream – although enough to illustrate that projects grow with the economics of time.
But I would like to see a less bland exterior with the muffin-top parking garage moved out of sight. Oh, and maybe for Hilton to have just five brands delivering consistently clean carpet and fluffy pillows.
itsjrd1964 wrote:Motto is one of Hilton's newest brands. Spark is not listed on their website, but according to a bit more digging, Hilton has been testing aspects of Spark at various Doubletree properties in other cities (not here). They don't come out and say that any or all of those Doubletree hotels will flip to become Spark properties, nor what the future of the "concepts" of Spark will be. Apparently it's so new, that the development pipeline and the web-IT department at Hilton corporate have not chatted or updated themselves yet. I'm not sure why Doubletree properties were used as a testing-ground of sorts, but obviously somebody in the ivory towers thinks they know what they're doing. I was a bit surprised about this news, as there's been little-to-nothing in the hotel press up to now about Motto development activity, and no announcements or whispers about Spark before now.
jetnd87 wrote:So if this is going into the plot of land at Noble and Hall, what is the empty land + other vacant building (next to Hopdoddy, across McKinney from McKinney Avenue Trolley Apartments)?
Hilton Spark and Motto: Oak Grove Avenue and Hall Street
Last month, a double-branded Hilton property was proposed in West Village. The OLC didn’t like the building’s entrance orientation on Oak Grove Avenue so they rotated the podium to face Hall Street. I get that Oak Grove is a small street that might be overburdened by the hotel’s entrances, but by the same token, Hall is a nightmare at rush hours. I guess there’s no great option but relief that hotel patrons are predicted to prefer Uber over Hertz.
Speaking of parking, they’ve also increased the number of spaces from 95 to 120 to reduce the (rare?) need to park cars offsite (across Hall in a neighboring office building) at the same time they reduced the overall room count to 217 from 292.
Muffin-top amenity deck
But zoning calls for one parking space per room, so they’re getting a nice savings that they’re unwilling to use on underground parking (as nearly all commercial developments are doing in Uptown of late). My recommendation is for the developer to put a crowbar in the wallet. Instead, they’re offering a muffin-top garage-podium decorated in decorative cladding – on all sides this time. Whoo-hoo.
Landscaping-wise the neighborhood is getting shorted six trees at street level (no fair counting trees four stories off the ground on the top of the amenity deck). But the project is burying the utilities, vastly improving sightlines.
Redblock wrote:The site has had a rent-a-fence around it for about a week. A large backhoe has knocked down 2 of the 3 buildings on the site. I expect the other building and the trees to be gone next week.
This project and the TC Oak Grove Tower across the street could be going up at the same time.