St. Louis sees a $750M hotel construction boom
- There are 13 hotels being planned for downtown St. Louis, Missouri, a construction program worth approximately $750 million, according to KTVI Fox 2.
- St. Louis's burgeoning tech industry is partially responsible for the drive to add more hotel rooms to the existing stock, but the additional capacity is also expected to draw in more meeting and trade show bookings for the city's America's Center Convention Complex. Harry Lunt, senior vice president of sales and marketing for Innkeeper Hospitality Services LLC, reportedly told Fox 2 that the new hotel construction was in addition to approximately $6 billion of construction renovations in the downtown-midtown area. Kitty Ratcliffe, president of Explore St. Louis, which is the face of the St. Louis Convention & Visitors Commission, told Successful Meetings that the current and expected wave of new hotels should add 1,600 rooms to the city's existing 7,000-key supply.
- The Hotel Saint Louis, according to Lunt, which is a $65 million renovation (including the $3 million purchase price) of the historic landmark Union Trust Building into a Marriott Autograph Collection boutique hotel, is the first new hotel to be built in the city in 15 years. Loews and Hyatt are also introducing new hotels to the city, and Marriott is making another entry into St. Louis's hotel market with its Aloft brand.
Boutique hotels like the Hotel Saint Louis try to create a more intimate feel for guests, provide upscale amenities and are typically located in urban areas. For example, the addition to the Autograph Collection brand will focus on the history of the Union Trust Building and offer classic St. Louis cuisine in its restaurant. Meanwhile, the Cortex Aloft hotel will feature a tech environment with shared spaces.
Being able to provide travelers with local experiences, like the Hotel Saint Louis and other boutique hotels reportedly do, is one of the key trends in hotels this year, according to U.S. News and World Report. The Cortex Aloft hit on another trend, which is to give guests opportunities to remain connected to the world via technology and to offer them vibrant and active shared spaces and common areas.
This all plays into the value that consumers and travelers are increasingly placing on authenticity. This desire, along with e-commerce, is also what has changed the face of retail and is reportedly pushing the traditional shopping mall to the wayside. However, malls could be making a comeback soon, according to CNBC, as foreign retailers and off-price retailers, furniture stores, fitness centers, specialty grocers and arts and crafts stores scramble to fill empty commercial space at bargain lease-rates.
Follow Kim Slowey on Twitter