This rendering shows a view of the project from Broadway Street and Newell Avenue.
This rendering shows a view of the 20-story tower from Broadway Street and Newell Avenue. Credit: Courtesy / GrayStreet Partners / Gensler / DWG / Big Red Dog / ARUP

A luxury hotel brand that has its own record label and offers the young and affluent some of the most glamorous accommodations around the world is making plans to enter the San Antonio market.

W Hotels, owned by Marriott International, is in the planning phase of opening in the 20-story Broadway Street tower for which developers sought and won a height variance last year.

The projected opening date is January 2022, according to the latest pipeline information for the San Antonio market provided by hotel data source STR, which also puts the number of rooms for the W Hotel at 195.

The hotel would go into a GrayStreet development south of the Pearl that is billed as a 260-foot-tall structure with two levels of underground parking, retail space on the ground floor, three levels of parking, four floors of office space, two amenity floors, and nine floors of hotel. Its original height and design contributed to an on-again, off-again journey through the City’s zoning and design review processes in 2018.

Gensler, the global architecture firm that designed the tower and is currently creating space for its new San Antonio offices at the Schaum Building on East Houston Street, described the structure at 1603 Broadway St. as a “transformative project, acting as a catalyst by bringing new life to the neighborhood and connecting the Broadway corridor to downtown.”

The sides of the building that face Broadway Street, Pearl Parkway, and Avenue B will be lower and predominantly brick and wood with large windows, while the more prominent sides adjacent to Interstate 35 and U.S. Highway 281 will be metal and glass.

The Marriott International hotel portfolio is made up of 30 brands and 6,900 properties. In 2018, the company signed management and franchise agreements for 816 properties, comprised of 125,000 rooms, according to its website, while also opening nearly 500 properties comprised of more than 80,000 rooms.

Marriott operates more than 50 W Hotels around the world. Launched in 1998 with W New York, W Hotels have been called the “coolest hotel brand,” with one travel writer saying, “If youthful vibes and contemporary flair is what you’re after, the W brand will be right up your street [or beach].”

W Hotels in October announced the launch of its music label and in January a year’s worth of of fitness-focused vacation packages that combine celebrity workouts, healthy cuisine, “killer parties, and unforgettable adventures.” The most recent W Hotel opened in Dubai in early February. Dubbed The Palm, the lavish hotel is located on the Palm Jumeirah, the largest man-made island in the world.

With W Hotel locations already in both Dallas and Austin, the San Antonio hotel would be the brand’s third in Texas, though there’s one in the works for Houston as well. As with many W Hotels, Austin’s is both a hotel and residential skyscraper. Opened in 2010, that hotel stands 478 feet and 37 stories.

Within San Antonio, the W Hotel will be in fine company. Just blocks away, the AAA five-diamond-rated riverfront property that is the Hotel Emma has been winning worldwide acclaim as the flagship hotel of the Pearl.

GrayStreet has purchased a total of 23 acres along Broadway across from the Government Hill neighborhood, including the historic Light building at 420 Broadway St.

Developer Peter French has said the tower is “phase one” of GrayStreet’s larger plans for the developing area. French did not respond to a request for more information about the W Hotel plans.

Shari Biediger has been covering business and development for the San Antonio Report since 2017. A graduate of St. Mary’s University, she has worked in the corporate and nonprofit worlds in San Antonio...