AUSTIN, Texas, Oct. 17, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- JW Marriott Austin® hosted a groundbreaking ceremony yesterday to commemorate the official groundbreaking of Austin's largest hotel, and JW Marriott's largest U.S. hotel to date. Speakers included Congressman Lamar Smith, Austin Mayor Lee Leffingwell, Austin Convention & Visitors Bureau President Bob Lander, Deno Yiankes, president and CEO of investments and development for White Lodging, and Mitzi Gaskins, vice president and global brand manager for JW Marriott Hotels & Resorts at Marriott International. A celebratory cocktail reception for guests followed the groundbreaking ceremony.
Slated to open in early 2015, construction commenced on the new 1,200,000-square-foot hotel in August, and JW Marriott Austin announced yesterday that more than 71,000 rooms have already been booked. The hotel is located on the square block bounded by Second and Third Streets and Brazos Street and Congress Avenue in downtown Austin.
The hotelier also announced it has booked several industry conventions—which without the additional rooms from the JW Marriott would not be able to come to Austin—including the Specialty Tools and Fasteners Distributors Association and the Association of American Medical Colleges. Each convention will bring approximately 3,000 attendees to Austin.
"The addition of a 1,000-room hotel to the downtown area will have a major impact on the City of Austin," Bob Lander, president and CEO of the Austin Convention & Visitors Bureau, said. "Having this number of hotel rooms under one roof will allow the city to land large national conventions and meetings such as these for which it could otherwise not compete. The large number of rooms booked already shows the level of excitement about plans for this beautiful new hotel."
The 34-story, 1,012-room hotel will feature 35 meeting rooms and more than 110,000 square feet of meeting, banquet and exhibition space, food and beverage venues, underground parking and a 3,500-square-foot fitness center.
The JW Marriott is expected to generate 2,500 jobs during its two-year construction. Upon opening, the hotel will employ more than 700 people.
"The JW Marriott is expected to bring enormous economic benefits to the entire city," Austin Mayor Lee Leffingwell said. "The hotel is expected to generate more than $16 million in taxes annually, and $5 million to $6 million will go directly to the City of Austin, according to the Austin Convention & Visitors Bureau."
In line with the city's goal of more pedestrian traffic downtown, more than 1,000 people are expected to enter and leave the hotel each day, mostly on foot, through the main hotel entrance on Second St. The JW Marriott will create a visual connection with the Austin Convention Center and the Second St. Retail District and generate significantly more pedestrian traffic along Congress Ave. and Second St.
"We are thrilled and eager to bring this premier convention hotel to Austin," Jay Spurr, director of sales and marketing for JW Marriott Austin, said. "JW Marriott is a nationally recognized brand that offers premier amenities and service that will compete with anything currently in the market."
White Lodging, which owns and manages 21 other properties in Austin, will manage the JW Marriott. The company will employ more than 1,700 people in the greater Austin area when the JW Marriott opens, making it one of the area's largest private employers.
About JW Marriott - JW Marriott is part of Marriott International's luxury portfolio and consists of beautiful properties in gateway cities and distinctive resort locations around the world. These elegant hotels cater to today's sophisticated, self-assured travelers, offering them the quiet luxury they seek in a warmly authentic, relaxed atmosphere lacking in pretense. JW Marriott properties artfully provide highly crafted, anticipatory experiences that are reflective of their locale so that their guests have the time to focus on what is most important to them. Currently, there are 57 JW Marriott hotels in 23 countries; by 2015 the portfolio is expected to encompass 79 properties in 28 countries. www.marriott.com/jw-marriott/travel.mi
About White Lodging - Established in 1985 and headquartered in Merrillville, IN, White Lodging is a fully integrated developer, owner and manager of premium brand hotels – a recognized leader that consistently delivers superior, leading-brand hotel experiences and premium returns on investment among mid- to-large scale hotels across the country. With over 25 years of expertise, White Lodging continues to break ground as one of the fastest-growing independent hospitality companies in the country. Their managed portfolio of more than 159 hotels in 20 states encompasses representation of the following leading brand affiliations: Marriott International, Hyatt Global, Hilton Worldwide, Radisson Hotels, Intercontinental Hotel Group, and Starwood Hotels & Resorts. For more information about White Lodging, please visit www.whitelodging.com or call (219) 472-2861.
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SOURCE White Lodging