Across the country, there’s a trend toward downtown revitalization and urban living.
Midland is no exception. A large group of young professionals working in the oil and gas industry desire an urban lifestyle, and the new $100 million Santa Rita Hotel in downtown Midland is being created in part to meet that interest.
“Similar to much of the US, there is an unmet urbanization demand in the city,” said Robert Watson, CEO of San Antonio-based Bond Partners, one of the developers of the Santa Rita Hotel, along with Overland Partners and Arup. “We had the opportunity to create a city center with this project, a true amenity for the city of Midland, and a catalyst for living and working downtown.”
This 17-floor boutique hotel will offer residential, retail, and office space. The mixed-use development also includes around $20 million in public improvements, like the redevelopment of nearby Centennial Plaza and construction of an underground parking garage with 467 spaces.
The project is slated for completion by August 31, 2018.
The Santa Rita Hotel aims to attract upwardly mobile young professionals by offering posh amenities, like luxury condos on top floors, a rooftop bar with panoramic views, fitness and spa facilities, and swimming pools. The development also will include an upscale restaurant, whiskey bar, and Epicurean market.
But this won’t be a generic, big-city development. The hotel will be located on the site of the old Midland County Courthouse, and developers are sensitive to the historic nature of the space, which many Midlanders hold sacrosanct. Additionally, the hotel’s design will have the area’s oil history front and center, and some members of the development team hail from Midland High School. They’ve even situated the hotel so that it will not obstruct views of the historic Petroleum Building, which was built in 1934.
“We were introduced to the Midland opportunity through our architects, Overland Partners,” Watson said. “One of their principals was born and raised in Midland before going off to architecture school at UT. We were drawn to the opportunity because Midland is a very unique market, to say the least.”
The Santa Rita Hotel development is well on its way, with the Midland City Council last week approving their master development agreement. The mixed-use development will cost developers between $80 and $100 million, with the city covering an additional $9.75 million for this downtown revitalization project.
The city council set multiple benchmarks for developers to meet over the next 18 months.
“The contract is written to where the responsibility, at this point in time, is on the developers to perform,” at-large councilman Spencer Robnett told the Midland Reporter-Telegram. “They have very stringent development requirements, and the city will hold them to those development requirements.”
Milestones include completion of construction drawings, securing financing, and finalizing all budgetary work. There will also be more public meetings to display construction drawings. If those are met, construction will start no later than Oct. 31, 2016.
Initial investors for the project include OGX Resources (with Midlanders Kip Agar and Richard Coats), and developers are currently raising money from other capital partners.
“With regards to financing, we feel very comfortable with where we are right now,” Watson told the Midland Reporter-Telegram. “Obviously, we have capital in place now to keep this going—full steam ahead.”