Hotel developers clamor for Pearl district

Several projects set to start this year as hospitality sector recovers

Hotel Developers Swarm to San Antonio’s Pearl District
Oxbow Development’s Bill Shown and Phoenix Development’s John Mangel III (Oxbow, Pheonix Development, Getty)

Hotels are sprouting up all around The Pearl district in San Antonio as the popular mixed-use destination undergoes an expansion.

The Pearl, known for its breweries, upscale apartments, restaurants and the renowned Hotel Emma, is attracting a swarm of hotel developers looking to capitalize on the area’s explosion, the San Antonio Express-News reported

“You look at the success of Hotel Emma — if you’ve got a hotel that is that successful in that area, that’s going to make other people take a look and see if they can share some of that success,” said Paul Vaughn, senior vice president for hotel consulting firm Source Strategies.

Among the new projects, an affiliate of Chicago-based Phoenix Development Partners plans to construct a 175-room Residence Inn at East Grayson and North Alamo streets. Construction of the $37 million, eight-story hotel is expected to begin in November, with completion slated for June 2026.

Oxbow Development Group, the development arm of Pearl owner Silver Ventures, is also planning a 151-room hotel on East Elmira Street. It will include 13,000 square feet of meeting space, a rooftop pool, bar and restaurant. Construction is set to begin this year and finish in 2026. 

It will offer lower rates compared to Hotel Emma, where stays range between $300 and $500 per night, said CEO Bill Shown. 

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McCombs Enterprises has a conceptual plan for a $295 million mixed-use development next to the San Antonio Museum of Art, which includes a 146-room hotel. The project will also yield apartments, office space, retail, public art and green space. 

GrayStreet Partners is collaborating with Fulcrum Development on a nearly 1.9-million-square-foot mixed-use development, called Broadway East. While retail, housing and parking will be the primary focus, the project could also include a hotel. 

Farther north on Broadway, Jayson Seidman transformed the Ranch Motel into a trendy 26-room resort, featuring a pool, bar and pickleball courts. It offers leisure club memberships starting at $2,500 annually.

Despite the pandemic’s lingering impact — downtown San Antonio’s hotel occupancy was down 13 percent in 2023 compared to 2019 — the hospitality sector is showing signs of recovery. Revenue per available room increased by 7.3 percent over the same period, and average daily rates rose by 27.4 percent, the outlet reported, citing Source Strategies.

—Quinn Donoghue 

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