Downtown Marriott to open ahead of schedule

AUSTIN (KXAN) — A new landmark on Congress Avenue will open sooner than expected.

The JW Marriott Austin announced Monday they will begin operations on February 20, 2015. When it opens it will be the largest hotel in Austin with 1,012 rooms.

Construction of the 34-story hotel is now 75 percent complete.

Additional downtown hotel projects are going up nearby, including a new Fairmont Hotel slated to open in 2017 that will add more than 1,000 more rooms.

That’s leading some to question if downtown hotels are being overbuilt.

“Right now the city’s downtown occupancy runs about 80 percent annually,” said Jay A. Spurr with JW Marriott Austin. “That rivals other major cities in the country. You’re talking New York, San Francisco are better than that. So there’s enough demand right now. Austin is still a very exciting destination.”

Thirty-eight percent of current group bookings at the new JW Marriott are from organizations that have never met in Austin before. The hotel will be hiring more than 700 employees before the grand opening.

The JW Marriott is adding three new restaurants to the downtown dining scene, including a full-service regional Italian restaurant.

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