This article originally appeared on GlobeSt.com.
By Lisa Brown
AUSTIN, TX—Site work is now underway on The Loren, a hotel/condo tower being built by Hoar Construction on the banks of Lady Bird Lake. The Loren Hotel Group is working with Hall Structured Finance, Rhode Partners, Drenner Group, Hoar Construction and Fleur-de-lis Interior Design on the project.
The opening is scheduled for the first quarter 2022. The new property will have 108 guestrooms, 26 two- to four-bedroom condominiums for sale including two penthouses, a rooftop restaurant and bar, a spa, gym and pool.
Other notable features include a 500-square-foot restaurant on the top floor with an outside terrace overlooking the lake as well as event space for weddings and special events. Condo residents will also have private elevator access to each level leading straight to the living room or foyer.
Perhaps the most unique part of the project is the creative workaround that Hoar and the owners developed for building below grade against the lake. After reviewing multiple options, Hoar devised a system for a series of deep well watering points around the outside perimeter of the soil retention system and was able to draw down the water table lower than the 26 feet that was required. This enabled the owners to save millions of dollars that can be reinvested in other aspects of the project.
“Because the bottom of the hotel’s two-level below-grade garage and foundation is 6 feet below the lake level of the adjacent Lady Bird Lake, water from the lake will percolate through the very sandy soil and into our hole very quickly as we excavate and install our earth retention system,” Matt Allen, project executive at Hoar Construction, tells GlobeSt.com. “To remedy this issue, Hoar and its construction partners installed a series of 12 deep well points that go down to the limestone shelf, approximately 52 feet below grade, which enable us to lower the existing water table down to 2 feet below our lowest foundation elevation. The well points actively pump water at a rate of 1,800 to 2,000 gallons per minute so the basement excavation stays dry and maintains optimal working conditions for our crews. The water is crystal clear when it returns to the lake, which preserves the natural habitat and magnificent setting that differentiates The Loren at Lady Bird Lake from any other hospitality project in the market.”
The property is on the pedestrian path between the Lamar Boulevard Bridge and Butler Park Pitch & Putt, as well as close to downtown Austin. With panoramic views of the lake and skyline, The Loren’s unique horseshoe design is built around the surrounding natural environment. It neighbors multiple city parks and also runs along the pedestrian path popular among bikers/walkers that connects to the Lamar Boulevard Bridge.
Coming off the low levels of 2020, Austin’s hotel room-night demand is expected to increase dramatically during the next few years, according to a report by CBRE Hotels. Despite the pandemic, the supply of new hotel rooms continues to increase in the market. The Austin lodging supply grew by 6.2% during the first quarter of 2020.
The available room count in the Austin market is expected to increase by a total of 6.7% for the entirety of 2020 and another 6.1% in 2021. Hotels that were under construction before the pandemic will likely be completed. Others, in some stage of planning, will be re-evaluated. CBRE foresees demand for US lodging accommodations returning to pre-crisis levels in the third quarter of 2022.