Wednesday, October 01, 2014

Downtown Dallas' Hotel Lawrence to be renovated as a La Quinta

A franchisee of Irving-based La Quinta Inn & Suites hopes to bring more traffic to one of the sleepier downtown corners with a $7 million renovation and rebranding of the historic Hotel Lawrence.
The 10-story hotel on Houston Street, across the street from Union Station, was purchased last summer by BMR Dallas Downtown Investments LLC, an investment company owned by hotel operator Mehul Patel.
The updated hotel will have roughly the same number of rooms, about 120, and the first-floor space will be converted into an expanded lobby and bar area serving “comfort food,” said Rajiv Trivedi, La Quinta’s executive vice president and chief development officer.
Also, some of the meeting space on the second floor will be converted to public space and some will be used to expand the guest room count, he said.
“It is a complete and extensive renovation,” he said of the property, which originally opened nearly 90 years ago. “This being a downtown location, the rooms will have boutique looks with high-end amenities. It will be a brand-new hotel once renovated.”
The property, a short walk from the West End, will continue to operate as Hotel Lawrence until renovation of the rooms is complete, he said.
Once the rooms are done and the project reaches the public area, the hotel will close, he said. The property will open as La Quinta after all renovations are complete.
The hotel now appeals to the budget-minded but has a hard time competing with newer, more modern hotels, including the city-owned Omni Dallas Hotel. Rates can be $40 to $50 a night lower than at nearby competitors, including Marriott’s Springhill Suites in the West End.
Future guests will be able to participate in the La Quinta Returns rewards program. Loyalty programs have increasingly become a big draw in the hotel industry.
Trivedi estimates the revamped hotel will open in late 2015 or early 2016.
The downtown hotel is one of 190 new La Quinta locations in the pipeline, according to hotel company executives who talked about the brand’s expansion plans in an investor presentation Tuesday.
La Quinta is one of the fastest-growing hotel chains in the U.S.

By Karen Robinson-Jacobs  
     krjacobs@dallasnews.com