Waco's hotel market is booming as developers plan hundreds of new lodging rooms in the city, but some question whether the area is being overbuilt.
Officials with the Waco Convention Center estimate that nearly 1,300 hotel rooms could become available in the next three years, the Waco Tribune-Herald reported. Developers announced a $35 million Embassy Suites project last week, with construction to begin next year.
"That was an exciting announcement," said Carla Pendergraft, the convention center's marketing director. "With Embassy Suites, the Hilton, the Courtyard by Marriott and the three hotels planned across the river, we are in an excellent position to move to that next level of convention and meeting business."
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It'll also bring more visitors to the Cameron Park Zoo, the Dr Pepper Museum and HGTV "Fixer Upper" stars Chip and Joanna Gaines' Magnolia Market at the Silos and restaurant , which draws tens of thousands of visitors to Waco every week, according to Pendergraft.
KB Hotels LLC Developer Kenny Bhakta, the owner of Hotel Indigo downtown, is planning three four-story hotels around the area. The nearly $22 million project is scheduled to start early next year and finish in 2022. The plans call for about 360 hotel rooms spread out among three brands, including Holiday Inn Express, Cambria Suites and Even Hotel.
Waco is becoming a competitive market, said Jacquelyn Baumann, KB Hotels spokeswoman.
"There definitely is going to be a shift in the market, and some hoteliers may take a second look at the feasibility of placing another property here," Baumann said.
Raju Patel, who opened La Quinta Del Sol in Waco in October, is concerned about the growing number of lodging options.
"My occupancy rate is less than 20 percent at my new property," Patel said. "Things have been pretty slow."
Patel believes the Waco area is becoming overbuilt. He said adding more hotels is flirting with saturation and reduced occupancy rates.