Feature Illustration (above): Bird’s-eye view of the renovated UH Conrad Hilton looking south-by-southeast. Courtesy: University of Houston.
by Adolfo Pesquera
Houston (Harris County) — The University of Houston anticipates beginning construction on a $30.4 million expansion of its “teaching hotel” by mid-2020.
Dennis Reynolds, dean of the UH Conrad N. Hilton College of Hotel and Restaurant Management, announced today that the UH System Board of Regents had approved the expansion. The Board of Regents voted on the project at its Feb. 28 meeting.
The proposed project schedule anticipated design completion and start of construction in the summer of 2020. It is expected to reach completion the winter (fourth quarter) of 2022.
Reynolds is leading a committee to select the architect/engineer team and a general contractor.
The project budget approved by the Board of Regents breaks down the costs as follows:
- $25.4 million: Construction Cost (including contingencies, FF&E & AV)
- $3 million: Architect/Engineer fees
- $1 million: Miscellaneous
Preliminary designs include a five-story tower addition that will have 71 new guest rooms above the south wing. This will increase the hotel capacity to 151 guest rooms. Six suites on the second floor will be removed to create a much-needed executive meeting space, the UH announcement states.
The on-campus teaching hotel is located by Lynn Eusan Park and University Drive.
The conceptual renderings were prepared by MAQE, a computer graphics visualization service that promotes real estate and advertising projects. If the concept renderings are fairly accurate, it appears the five-story addition will be cantilevered over the west side of the existing building, toward Lynn Eusan Park. Another new amenity to the hotel will be a plaza facing the park that could promote more pedestrian interaction between the hotel and the surrounding green space.
View of the UH Conrad Hilton after the renovation/expansion, as scene from Lynn Eusan Park. Courtesy: University of Houston.
Of the existing rooms that will remain (80 units), all will be renovated, as will the lobby, courtyard and other public spaces.
“The constraint of having only 86 rooms has made us an anomaly in the marketplace, but we are, in fact, a full-service Hilton franchisee,” Reynolds said. “Our new 151-room hotel will provide for a more realistic learning experience for our students because we will be operating in a manner more typical of a full-service non-teaching hotel.”
Aerial view of the UH Conrad Hilton. The second tower will be place perpendicular to the first. Image/Graphic: Google Earth/Adolfo. Pesquera
Hilton College is the only hospitality program in the world where students work and take classes in an internationally branded, full-service hotel.
The expanded hotel will also allow for better service of business clients – including the University of Houston – with increased meeting and event spaces. The hotel will now have the capacity to accommodate overnight stays for large parties who come for weddings and conferences.
Rendering of the central courtyard as it may appear after the renovation. Courtesy: University of Houston.