Jan. 23–A new kind of Marriott Hotel is coming to downtown St. Paul.
A Marriott Tribute — Marriott International's upscale boutique urban hotel brand — will move into the Park Square building overlooking Mears Park, sharing space with Public Kitchen and Bar, the Handsome Hog and the Lowertown Event Center.
Building owner Jim Crockarell said construction of the 127-unit boutique hotel would begin in June, with rooms potentially opening to the public by December 2019. The hotel will fill space vacated by a long-time tenant, the Minnesota Housing Finance Agency, which recently relocated into Treasure Island Center, the former Macy's department store building on Wabasha Street.
"Currently, we have three restaurants in the building, and those three restaurants will stay," Crockarell said. "The Lowertown Event Center will stay, but we are planning to have (additional) hotel event space on the main level of the building overlooking Mears Park."
Downtown St. Paul has long been seen as underserved by the hotel industry, but a recent hotel boom has added hundreds of rooms in quick succession. Facing Lowertown, a 149-room Hyatt Place opened in late 2016 in a former U.S. Post Office tower on Kellogg Boulevard. A Hampton Inn and Suites opened around the same time on West Seventh Street near the Xcel Energy Center.
More rooms will be added downtown when an extended-stay hotel opens in the city's first fire station at Grand Avenue and Leech Street, near United Hospital. Also in recent years, the Crowne Plaza underwent an upgrade and a name change to the InterContinental.
Crockarell said his new hotel will nevertheless fill a void in one of the most underserved corners of downtown.
"Most all the rooms will be overlooking Mears Park," Crockarell said. "There's very little hotel activity in Lowertown itself. Mears Park, I consider to be the wedding-event capital of the Twin Cities. … It'll be right in the heart of all the downtown office space. We'll be able to offer very competitive room rates because we'll own the hotel as well as the building itself."
Originally known as the Noyes Brothers and Cutler Building, the Park Square building at Sixth and Sibley streets served as a pharmacy importer's warehouse and drug-mixing laboratory when it opened in 1886. In the 1970s, Minnesota Public Radio broadcast "A Prairie Home Companion" on the second floor until it outgrew the space.
In May 2017, Marriott International said it had opened 20 Tribute hotels around the world, with 12 more in the pipeline. Often located in historic properties, the urban hotels are targeted to "travelers who take pride in their individuality," according to company materials, and offer "engaging design and public spaces" as well as "hotel experiences that reflect the community and champion the indie-spirit."