Second tallest skyscraper will change Austin's skyline


by JESSICA HOLLOWAY / KVUE News and photojournalist SCOTT MCKENNEY

Posted on May 30, 2012 at 6:15 PM

Updated Wednesday, May 30 at 6:21 PM

AUSTIN -- More changes are on the way for Austin's skyline. A new hotel will soon become on of the city's tallest buildings.

Fairmont announced it will break ground next spring on the northeast side of the intersection of Cesar Chavez and Red River.

Billy Marquart remembers the skyline when he went to the University of Texas in 2005. "It's different now; it's very different," he said. "They're putting up high rises all over the place. I don't think one more is going to ruin the skyline anymore than it is now."

Developers say the $350 million hotel will be 50 stories tall, have 1,000 rooms, and will be 580 feet high, making it Austin's second tallest building. Builders say the tallest is the Austonian. 

The hotel will sit directly across from historic Iron Works BBQ.

The manager at iron works is excited. "I think it will be good for business and good for the city as well," said Iron Works manager Roland Cantu.

Cantu has seen a lot of things come and go across the street. "From a casino, to the old Austin ice bats, to other hotel projects that have fallen through," Cantu said.

What he'd really like to see "go away" are the transients sleeping near Waller Creek, the trash, and the graffiti.

City leaders say the hotel will bring in an addition $6 million a year in hotel tax and $4 million in property tax. The majority of the money will help cleanup Waller Creek.

Builders plan for the hotel to have Texas limestone, granite, and glass. The hotel is set to open in 2015.

Builders also say there's only one other Fairmont Hotel in Texas; it's in Dallas.

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