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Conversion of Holiday Inn to Magnolia Boutique Hotel near SMU


The Holiday Inn located close to SMU will soon be going through a transformation and branding as a luxury Magnolia Hotel. The 293-room Holiday Inn is located on North Central Expressway just to the north of Mockingbird Lane. Once the conversion project is complete, it will be one of the new Magnolia Hotel properties.

Recently, the owner of the building, TriGate Capital, invested $9 million on upgrades. Another $2 million will be spent in order to give the 9-story hotel an improved makeover. With the hotel being across the highway from the Southern Methodist University and George W. Bush Presidential Center, TriGate expects the upgrades and improvements will draw people in.

According to Leigh Hitz, CEO of Denver-based Stout Street Hospitality, which operates six Magnolia Hotels throughout the country, it makes perfect sense to capitalize on a market where another boutique hotel is needed. The first Magnolia Hotel was opened 15 years ago in Dallas. At that time, the old Magnolia Building that houses offices was converted into a beautiful hotel.

Attracting Hotel Guests

Hitz explained that the new Magnolia Hotel will provide guests from nearby North Dallas neighborhoods and Park Cities with amazing rooms and amenities. She and others strongly believe there is growing demand for the Magnolia brand. The hotel will provide excellent service not only to typical guests but also to a large number of business clients in and around the area.

The Holiday Inn went into foreclosure in 2010, at which time TriGate purchased the building. For years, the property had operated as a Radisson Hotel. Unfortunately, the hotel had not been properly attended to for some time, which showed. As a result, TriGate went in and literally gutted the building for a complete renovation.

Jonathan Pettee, managing member of TriGate, confirmed that in addition to money already spent, more is being put into the new Magnolia Hotel. By doing so, the hotel will capture not only recreational travelers but business travelers as well.

Even though the hotel is roughly 80 percent occupied, numbers are expected to climb once the upgrades that just started are complete and the hotel is fully rebranded. While a new water feature now sits at the entry to the hotel and all the new signage is in place, Pettee stated that a lot of the original furnishings will be replaced and improved.

Additional Renovations

As part of the renovation project, the restaurant is being modified to give it a more upscale look and feel. The goal is to provide a comfortable restaurant that families can enjoy, along with businesspeople and couples. The food will be fabulous and the decorum in line with the Magnolia brand.

Already, there is over 12,000 square feet of meeting and event space at the hotel. Information as to whether this space will be enhanced or simply made over has not yet been disclosed. TriGate, as well as the new Magnolia Hotel, has retail and office properties in North Texas as well.

Just before this new project near SMU began, another Magnolia Hotel opened in St. Louis, Missouri. In that case, a gorgeous 91-year-old historic building was transformed. Hitz stated that new locations are always been sought and that Austin could be the next place a Magnolia Hotel appears.

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