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Downtown Courtyard Marriott expected to open early 2018

Downtown Courtyard Marriott expected to open early 2018

Weather delays earlier this year have pushed back the target completion date for the downtown Courtyard Marriott, which is currently under construction on the site of a surface parking lot at the intersection of Third and Florida streets.
Developers say they’re now targeting a February 2018 opening for the 135-room hotel. That’s a little later than the late November-early December opening they projected at last October’s groundbreaking.
But they’re still hopeful the eight-story hotel might be ready for some of the 2018 Mardi Gras season, one of the downtown hotel market’s busiest times of year.
They also hope to have a ground floor Starbuck’s that will front on Third Street, completed and open for business by December.
“Our goal will be to get the Starbuck’s open once the building is substantially completed, which would be December,” says Bill Fayssoux, project manager for the South Carolina-based Windsor Aughtry Hotel Group. “The Baton Rouge market is relatively strong in January and February because of the Louisiana Marathon and Mardi Gras so the sooner the better.”
The $23 million project was first announced in 2014, but Windsor Aughtry didn’t actually get the green light to move forward until October 2015, when the Metro Council approved the creation of a Tax Increment Financing District for the project. Securing permits also took longer than expected so construction did not begin until last fall.
Since the groundbreaking, several weeks of wet weather has hampered construction on what is already a challenging site.
“Trying to do something on a half acre site in a downtown location is a challenge,” Fayssoux says.
Still, Fayssoux says the market remains healthy with room to grow. Average occupancy among the seven peer hotels against which the Courtyard compares itself was 72.5% as of last fall’s groundbreaking, up 8% from the same time the previous year.
“The market is steady, which is encouraging,” he says. “I’m not going to say it’s strong, but it’s steady.”
—Stephanie Riegel
Reprinted with permission from The Greater Baton Rouge Business Report.

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