|By David Hendricks, San Antonio
Knight Ridder/Tribune Business News
Mar. 17, 2006 - The Atlanta-based developer of a planned northwest San Antonio retail complex is pushing ahead with an expanded high-end hotel-condominium project valued at $130 million, despite the withdrawal of its luxury hotel management partner.
Thomas Enterprises will break ground this summer on the 13-story project named Hotel Talavera, with 152 hotel rooms and 133 condos at The Rim, on the northeast corner of Interstate 10 and Loop 1604. The opening is slated for spring 2008.
The expanded project was announced Thursday after news earlier in the week that Atlanta-based West Paces Hotel Group and its planned luxury chain brand, Hotel Sols, had withdrawn from the Mexican colonial-style project.
West Paces left the project after Thomas Enterprises expanded the hotel from its original four-story hotel design to include condos, said Thomas Enterprises President and Chief Executive Stan Thomas.
"It will be among the nicest hotels in Texas," said Hal Thannisch, president of Thannisch Development Services Inc. in Atlanta, the developer for the Hotel Talavera project. "It will be notable in Texas among other luxury hotels." The Talavera name comes from the distinctive tile and ceramic arts that originated from the Mexican city of Puebla during the French Army's occupation in the mid-1800s and spread throughout Mexico in varying interpretations.
The hotel's ground floor will be common space, including the lobby. Hotel rooms, averaging 500 square feet, will occupy the next three floors. The condos will fill the remaining floors, ranging from one-bedroom units at 1,200 square feet to three-bedroom units at 2,500 square feet.
Penthouses with rooftop terracing will be larger. Condo prices will range up to $1 million or more, Thannisch and Thomas said. Condo residents will be entitled to the same services and hotel amenities as the hotel guests, including room service and the planned 11,000-square-foot spa.
"This will be a little oasis," Thannisch said. "We're trying to strike a prominent landmark for that corner of San Antonio. It's exciting to make that addition to San Antonio's dynamic growth." Hotel Talavera will operate two restaurants, an 80-seat restaurant with 40 seats outdoors and a casual poolside taqueria. A culinary center will allow for "food and fun" activities in which guests and residents can learn about cooking from chefs and match foods with wine.
A 4,600-square-foot ballroom also is planned, along with a 2,000-square-foot meeting room and two smaller meeting rooms.
The hotel-condo project will be on the caliber of the Thomas Enterprises' Las Ventanas al Paraiso resort in Los Cabos, Mexico. The San Antonio hotel "will have the same design team. Mexicans know Las Ventanas as the market leader in their country," Thannisch said.
The design team consists of Dallas firms HKS Inc., the architect SWA Group, which will do the landscaping, and Paul Duesing Partners, which will do the interior design.
Thomas Enterprises has developed or plans to build similar projects in the Atlanta area, in Orlando, Fla., and in California, the Caribbean and Europe. "Our desire is that each project express their own individuality and provide authentic experiences for guests," Thannisch said.
Hotel Talavera will provide the residential anchor for The Rim, which is called a "lifestyle center" based on the idea that residents will not have to leave the residential-retail complex for shopping or entertainment.
The Rim's retail center will cover 2 million square feet on 150 acres of the 800-acre site. The retail anchor will be Bass Pro Shops Outdoor World store. Other retail tenants have not been announced.
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