Yet Another Hotel scheduled for Downtown Austin

Yet another hotel is in the pipeline for downtown Austin. Documents have been filed with the city of Austin seeking rezoning of a lot at the northeast corner of East Fifth Street and San Jacinto Boulevard.

The applicants are five members of the Harry Whittington family and seven associated Whittington family trusts. Harry Whittington, a wealthy local landowner, confirmed that the family has created a joint venture with REI Real Estate Services LLC in Carmel, Ind., and White Lodging Services Corp. of Merrillville, Ind.

“We’ve had a lot of interest from various developers,” said Whittington, a longtime real estate lawyer and political supporter who gained short but widespread attention several years ago for being accidentally shot by Vice President Dick Cheney.

After surveying the possibilities for the Fifth Street site, Whittington said the family concluded that building a hotel with the veteran hospitality developers was the route to pursue.

REI and White Lodging have long histories of development in Austin, although they are headquartered elsewhere. They are the developers behind the Hyatt Place, which is under construction at East Third Street and San Jacinto Boulevard. White Lodging also is building the 1,000-room JW Marriott hotel at East Second Street and Congress Avenue.

Jeremy Stephenson, vice president of development with REI, said a decision has not been made about what brand of hotel will be built pending the rezoning.

“We’re looking at a few different options,” Stephenson said.

The company has built about 30 hotels across the country since the company was formed about 20 years ago. REI also builds office space and multifamily developments, including an apartment community in Round Rock.

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