During a special session of the Baytown Municipal Development District, it was revealed the overall costs of the much-anticipated Bayland Island hotel/convention center project will run $63.6 million.
This is $5.2 million more than initial estimates.
The reason for the rise in costs mostly revolves around a new brand that is soon to be announced for the hotel. Marriot International and Hilton were both at separate times expected to be the hotel’s brand, but both have dropped out. A new, yet unnamed, hotel brand is set to take their place, according to city officials.
Stephen Galbreath, Garfield Public/Private chief development officer, said some construction costs factor into the new budget.
“We think the hard costs will come in at $2 million higher,” Galbreath said. “The good news in all of this is in order to get to the higher revenues we’re going to have for the hotel, you have to do the higher capital cost to get that product. Our initial hotel was one product, one revenue. Now, we are going to have another product with another kind of revenue. These things eventually even out.”
Galbreath said about outside of the $2 million in hard costs, about a half a million is the “skin” or outside of the hotel, which will include more windows.
Galbreath said the unnamed hotel brand also requires higher-end features such as more expensive furniture for the hotel, including for the rooms. “The new brand also requires that guests have good reception for cell phones. If we do not have good reception, we will have a repeater in that area. About $250,000 of that makes up this number.”
Another $200,000 will go toward a bakery in the hotel.
“There is also additional third-party testing,” Galbreath said. “The brand requires we have third-party safety, with testing above and beyond code and also above the brand’s standards. Very stringent standards for fire hazards in a hotel.”
Tatianna Troutman, CitiGroup director, said hotel revenue bonds would be sold.
“If someone buys a room, drink or food at the hotel, or when conventions are held there, and people buy things at the hotel, this is revenue generated by the hotel,” Troutman said.
Troutman added the MDD owns hotel, but finances secured by hotel revenues will not fall back on Baytown taxpayers.
“Everyone should understand, the hotel revenue bonds are structured to be repaid with hotel revenue, not taxpayer dollars,” she said. “They actually generate that revenue to the city.”
Galbreath also talked about some of the highlights of the hotel and convention center. The hotel will have a tower, a boardwalk, an outdoor pool, an expansion opportunity for another 100-key rooms, additional meeting rooms that can be added to the convention center, an opportunity for a 500-car parking structure, and many restaurants.
Galbreath also said if the city were to have the Battleship Texas moved there, it would fit perfectly.
“The initial study shows this to be very promising,” he said.
There would also be a dining experience with a three-meal restaurant, drinking and entertainment venues.
“All of this is designed to serve the needs of the local community experiences while optimizing financial performance, including a flexible staffing model supported by technology,” he said.
A 100-square-foot market place would also be included to serve fresh food every day. The three-meal restaurant would be engineered to offer a variety of healthy dishes using products from the area and evolving with the seasons. A wood-fired oven would serve as a focal point and produce a variety of dishes. In addition, the hotel will have a barista experience with espresso and brewed coffee drinks.
In the convention center, Galbreath said it could hold up to 900 people and be split into more than one room, up to six if needed.
The rooms would have a lounge/desk chair with a decorative pillow, a desk and table with a convenience outlet, a bed with a wood headboard with metal detail and integrated reading lights, a nightstand with outlet, sheer drapery, a sofa, a coffee table, a 65-inch television, a dry bar with coffee, a mini-fridge, a safe, a full length mirror with sliding barn door luggage shelf, as well as luxury vinyl and tile flooring.