Press Release: 10.15.2015

Hospitality in Houston

McCarthy Partners on Two High-Profile Houston Hotel Projects for Hyatt

Hyatt Regency Hotel rendering

According to ConstructionGlobal.com, nationwide hotel occupancy levels are close to all-time highs. In order to meet the rising demand, many hoteliers are expanding their existing hotels or constructing new ones. HotelNewsNow.com and the June 2015 STR Pipeline Report noted there are 3,511 projects, totaling 426,043 rooms under contract in the United States, an 11.1 percent increase in the number of rooms from June 2014. Many cities throughout the country are experiencing a hospitality boom, including Houston.

Houston has made headlines for its vibrant culture and sound economics; it has topped the charts for being one of the best cities in which to do business. It has also been ranked as one of the best places to live for young professionals. However, for a city with steady growth and a bright future, it is currently lacking in the number of hotel rooms available to accommodate visitors. In fact, Houston has a supply of approximately half as many rooms compared to Atlanta, a city that is approximately five times smaller than Houston. According to a recent Houston Business Journal article, Houston has approximately 5,400 hotel rooms downtown, with 2,100 under construction whereas Atlanta has about 10,000 rooms available in its downtown – 2,500 more than Houston.

A lack of rooms can have a negative impact on the local economy due to the challenges in attracting large conventions or events. Despite the limited supply of hotel accommodations, Houston won the bid to host Super Bowl 51 in 2017, expected to bring in tens of thousands of visitors. The city’s hospitality market is on the rise with 7,000 rooms underway and 10,666 more in the pipeline to meet the growing demand in anticipation of the big game, along with the need to boost its competitive advantage for hosting large conventions in the future.

For contractors and architects, the increased demand has pushed the hospitality construction market into the spotlight, offering an opportunity to showcase quality craftsmanship, innovative building products and design features. Owners are eager to complete projects in time for the Super Bowl, putting extra pressure on contractors and architects to speed up the building and design process. Ramped up demand has challenged building and design teams to look for new ways to increase efficiency while still producing a quality product.

McCarthy is currently working with global design firm Gensler on two projects for Hyatt Hotels Corporation – Hyatt Place and Hyatt Regency adjacent to each other near the Houston Galleria.

Hyatt Place will be a 12-story, 151-room hotel spanning 103,000 square feet. It will feature an outdoor veranda and patio space with a pool, a café and dining area complete with a bar and lounge, several meeting rooms, and a business center. In order to manage the schedule and budget, McCarthy is utilizing a new specially engineered, prefabricated structural steel framing system from SCBStructures that increases efficiency in installation, is safer, and cost effective — all without sacrificing quality. To minimize costly changes later, McCarthy also completely built out model rooms before the start of construction. Once construction begins, it can be difficult to make design changes to a repetitive facility like a hotel, and changes can drastically slow down the building process resulting in increased construction and design costs. Planning in order to meet an owner’s expectations is the key to completion under a fast construction timeline.

The 325-room Hyatt Regency luxury hotel will be located at the corner of Sage Road and West Alabama Street. Standing at 14 stories tall and totaling 260,000 square feet, the Hyatt Regency will have 350-square-foot rooms, 20 suites, 15,000 square feet of meeting space, and a large fitness center overlooking a pool deck. The building will serve as the second Hyatt Regency in Houston, sitting roughly 7.5 miles from its counterpart downtown on Louisiana Street. Plans for the new hotel include the partial demolition of a pre-existing retail space; the remnants of which will be integrated into the design of the new hotel. Additionally, a one-level parking garage is being constructed under the tower to connect to a renovated parking structure. The developer for the project is a partnership between Songy HighRoads and the Carlyle Group.

To meet the luxury standards of a Hyatt Regency guest experience, creative and meticulous attention to detail has gone into the design and overall construction of this project. Gensler identified several hospitality design trends influenced by today’s traveler – authenticity, sustainability, and health and wellness – and incorporated these into the hotel.

Today’s traveler is looking for authenticity in the hospitality environment to get a feel for the community surrounding them. The Hyatt Regency’s design theme is focused on Houston’s historic oil and gas industry. Gensler focused on the geological aspect of oil and gas with color schemes and patterns around the hotel reflecting what is found in the soil during oil well coring. The wall coverings in the guest corridors contain topographical maps, yet look more like contemporary art. By integrating elements of the local environment, an authentic “community feel” is created but still maintains the essence of the Hyatt brand.

The millennial generation has also influenced the construction and design of hotels. Millennials highly value sustainability and health and wellness. The term “live local” rings true for this generation. Not only do they want to see local produce on hotel restaurant menus and snacks and drinks from local mom-and-pop shops stocked in their minibars, they also realize the importance of companies using local building materials in the overall design and construction to create a truly sustainable environment.

The renewed focus on health and wellness from this generation has also impacted the build-out in today’s hotel environments. The ability to access a fitness center while traveling is important to millennials. In fact, the Hyatt Regency’s fitness center will be significantly larger than the typical hotel gym to reflect the high demand for a quality fitness studio. Even the overall design of the Hyatt Regency’s restaurant space has changed as a result of the millennial generation, shifting to more grab-and-go marketplaces offering healthier options.

Building a hotel involves detailed and organized planning and building consensus among the owner, contractors, architects and other members of the design team in order to get a hotel up and running and generating revenue. Owners must look for contractor and design teams who are able to effectively identify industry trends to ensure the design of their project reflects the wants and needs of today’s traveler. More importantly, owners need to choose consultants who are experienced in the industry and can work collaboratively to ensure seamless communication from start to finish. McCarthy and Gensler are off to a great start constructing two superior hotels – their early collaboration during the design process will contribute to the success of these two Hyatt brand projects that appeal to today’s traveler.

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