A sneak peek inside the new downtown JW Marriott

A big milestone is set to happen Tuesday in downtown Austin. The 34-story J. W. Marriott Austin will have a topping out ceremony.

On Monday, KXAN got a sneak-peek at this important phase of construction.

On March 1, 2015, more than 1,000 new hotel rooms will go online, making the JW Marriott the largest hotel in Austin.

The $300 million project is about a month ahead of schedule.

Marriott executive Jay Spurr said bookings are 20 percent ahead of projections.

“Right now we’re at about 290,000 contracted group nights,” he said. “That’s from March 1, 2015, and the last group we have booked is in October of 2020.

As far as the hiring process, the hotel has a ways to go.

“Right now there’s only 10 of us,” Spurr said, “and we’re going to have 750 when we open the hotel.”

Also planned is a three-story underground parking garage that can hold 500 cars.

“It’s either self park or valet,” said project manager Dustin Louderback. “Guests will get dropped off and they can take a ramp down there to get in the garage, that way we’re not putting people back on the streets.”

Hotel officials had no comment when asked about the dispute over prevailing wages being paid to construction workers at the site. In 2013, protestors with the Workers Defense Project demonstrated against the builder.

The JW Marriott is one of seven hotel projects in the works downtown. They range from boutique hotels like 416 Congress, which will have 130 guest rooms, to a 50-story tower near Rainy Street that will become the Fairmont Hotel. When that building is done, it will hold 1,031 rooms, about a dozen more rooms than the JW Marriott.

Map: Proposed hotels for Austin

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