Downtown's Nicest Hotel
Midway, Valencia Group, and Gensler (the trio that brought us Hotel Sorella) are building Hotel Alessandra in GreenStreet. They tell us it’ll be like nothing Houston has ever seen. (That's gonna be tough, because most of us have seen some pretty strange stuff on the Internet.)
We snapped Midway director of leasing Suzanne Anderson and EVP of development Jamie Bryant at the Houston Pavilions’ rebranding into GreenStreet. Jamie tells us Midway has always planned to add residential or hospitality to the center to make it truly mixed-use (the firm believes that requires at least three uses), with a 24/7 vibe. It saw a lack of quality hotel product Downtown (particularly since most of the nice facilities Downtown were built in the ‘80s—and if workout equipment is any indicator, things built in the '80s don't really hold up). Jamie says Midway has no qualms about building at the same time as Rida and others—he says in hospitality, “supply is demand,” and a large variety of beautiful facilities only helps.
The most unique feature of Hotel Alessandra is the lobby, way up on the 24th floor. Jamie tells us it uses Houston’s skyline as an amenity, and checking in surrounded by the city will be an experience of its own. (Assuming you didn't walk up there using the staircase.) On top of that is the 25th-floor pool, event deck, and destination bar/restaurant. Gensler’s design includes a partially retractable glass roof.
Down on solid ground, the atrium will have 10k SF of sunny meeting space and a fitness facility, and will provide views of the whole tower. And of course, having the lobby on the 24th floor leaves open prime real estate on the street level. Jamie tells us they’re putting 7,000 SF of retail along Dallas. The team will be very selective in what’ll go there—they want a five-star retailer to complement the five-star hotel—and in an effort to support the City’s initiative to add storefronts, it will not be a restaurant or entertainment tenant. It’s a benefit to GreenStreet, too—most of its existing retail on Dallas is spoken for.
Hotel Alessandra will open in late 2016 (in time for us to host the Super Bowl). It’s next to Forever 21 on the corner of Main and Dallas and includes 225 rooms. Jamie tells us the biggest challenge was the site, which is only one-quarter of a block. (Believe it or not, this facility isn’t much larger than Hotel Sorella... it’s just stretched much taller.) Midway received financial support from Houston First and the Downtown Redevelopment Authority TIRZ.