Oldest hotel on San Antonio River Walk set for $46M renovation

Another comeback on tap for El Tropicano, vacant since 2020

The oldest hotel on the San Antonio River Walk could have a future, as its owners invest $46 million to renovate it.

A joint venture between Trestle Studio, the Town Lake Company and Sopris Capital is looking to perform a “full interior remodel” of El Tropicano River Walk Hotel, according to a filing with the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation.

Redevelopment of the 308-key property, at 110 Lexington Avenue, is expected to cost a little over $149,000 per key, although estimates are preliminary and subject to change.

The 175,000-square-foot asset, built in 1962, closed in April 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic and has yet to reopen. The joint venture bought it in January with plans for a “full rehabilitation and restoration.” 

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The previous owners, Alamo Equity and Phoenix Hospitality Group, had planned a $50 million renovation. However, that project stalled due to lawsuits that surfaced after the hotel closed. 

Emilio Nicolas Jr., a retired broadcasting executive, sued Alamo’s CEO Logan Anjaneyulu in March of last year over allegations of financial mismanagement. 

Months later, lender Weston Urban initiated foreclosure proceedings on the hotel, claiming that Alamo had fallen behind on a $6.3 million mezzanine loan. Alamo reportedly extended the maturity date on the loan nine times but was unable to make payments on the most recent maturity date, in June of 2022. The property was scheduled to sell at an auction a month later. The auction didn’t happen, but the property was sold to Trestle and its partners in an off-market deal, according to CoStar.   

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The new ownership plans to turn the hotel into an “upscale lifestyle destination” with event spaces and a rooftop hotel deck, the San Antonio Express-News reported. The renovation is expected to be completed by February of 2026. 

San Antonio will have the highest hotel occupancy in Texas this year, Marcus & Millichap has predicted. The Alamo City has relatively low inventory compared to Dallas-Fort Worth and Houston, and its average room rate is $40 lower than Austin, meaning San Antonio will draw bargain-hunting travelers away from the capital.