Historic Houston building starts over as a hotel


The Houston Bar Center building in Houston, Texas, was acquired by a developer with plans to convert it into a Marriott hotel.

The 102-year-old building was originally constructed for Gulf Oil, but its new owners want to turn it into an upscale hotel. During the conversion, the hotel's facade is expected to see a complete overhaul, including its entryway.

"This is the last piece of this quadrant of Main Street," William Franks, a consultant working on the project with Newcrest Image, a developer based near Dallas, said in a statement. "It's been a neglected building for a long time. We think it'll change this corner."

The conversion is expected to cost an estimated $44 million, and will join other nearby large-scale updates including new residential towers, restaurants and other hotel developments. However, while the hotel's facade is going to get a facelift it will remain obscured by an exterior shell put in place roughly 50 years ago. When the facade was installed, Franks said a number of the hotel's architectural features were damaged, leaving the developers with little choice but to leave the shell in place.

"When you take that skin off, you end up with black mastic over stone with no features, no cornices, no anything," Franks said in a statement. "The historic commission didn't want to do that."

Construction on the project is not expected to begin until after the 2017 Super Bowl, and will take approximately 13 months to finish. Roughly 200 construction jobs and 100 permanent hotel positions will be created through the project.