Vic Kolenc | El Paso Times, Texas
June 06– Jun. 6–The Plaza hotel building being renovated into a boutique hotel in Downtown El Paso has a new, longer name and a new general manager.
The 19-story, 90-year-old hotel building, undergoing a $78 million renovation, is now The Plaza Hotel Pioneer Park.
It will be run by Hersha Hospitality Management, or HHM, a Philadelphia hotel development and management company operating 125 hotels across the United States.
The simple white, Plaza letter signs that have been atop the hotel’s roof tower for years will remain.The giant letters have been refurbished.
The 130-room, upscale boutique hotel with an adjacent 541-car parking garage, now being built, is scheduled to open for events in December and open its rooms to the public in January, Wolfgang Jonas, the hotel’s new general manager, said in a statement.
The hotel will be hiring management positions during the summer and other staff in September and October. The jobs are posted on the HHM website.
The hotel’s owned by El Paso billionaire Paul Foster, who’s in the process of buying two of Downtown’s largest office towers, which will make him one of Downtown’s largest property owners.
It’s located at the corner of Mills Avenue and Oregon Street, across the street from the Mills office building, which Foster also renovated several years ago.
Jonas has been in the hotel business about 25 years. He previously was a hotel consultant in Los Angeles before becoming the Plaza’s general manager in October.
Jonas is from Venezuela, where he was general manager of the Cayena Caracas, a luxury hotel in Caracas, in 2016, according to his LinkedIn profile. He also was general manager of the Fairmont Miramar Hotel and Bungalows in Santa Barbara, California, for almost four years.
The hotel name was selected late last year, but is only now being promoted via a new Twitter handle and the hotel’s new website.
The Made Shop, a Denver branding and design firm, helped pick the name.
“They explored a wide range of options, but the overall goal was to keep the focus on the existing name, while adding a distinctive tagline to distinguish it from other hotels of the same name,” Jonas said.
Pioneer Park is part of the hotel name because of its simplicity and because the hotel is next to Pioneer Park, Jonas said. The tiny park showcases the statue of Fray Garcia de San Francisco, the priest that founded this area’s first mission.
The new name also captures the “ambitious pioneering spirit originally shown by Conrad Hilton” when he opened the hotel in the 1930s, Jonas said.
The hotel was one of the first hotels built by Hilton, founder of the Hilton Hotel chain.
Vic Kolenc may be reached at 546-6421; [email protected]; @vickolenc on Twitter.