City Council eyes $6.8 million purchase of 71-room hotel in Southeast Austin for second homeless shelter conversion

The Microtel Inn and Suites is located in Southeast Austin, only a 4.5-mile drive from the Austin-Bergstrom International Airport. (COURTESY GOOGLE MAPS)
The Microtel Inn and Suites is located in Southeast Austin, only a 4.5-mile drive from the Austin-Bergstrom International Airport. (COURTESY GOOGLE MAPS)

The Microtel Inn and Suites is located in Southeast Austin, only a 4.5-mile drive from the Austin-Bergstrom International Airport. (COURTESY GOOGLE MAPS)

A second hotel-to-homeless-shelter conversion may soon be underway as Austin City Council will consider Monday Dec. 9 the purchase of a 1.3-acre tract in South Austin, home to the existing 71-room Microtel Inn & Suites.

The hotel is located at 7705 Metro Center Drive—at the corner of Metro Center and East Riverside Drive—a 4.5-mile drive from the Austin Bergstrom International Airport. According to city staff, the location is an ideal candidate for a shelter conversion because it is close to where many people experiencing homelessness already live and is accessible by public transportation—the Riverside/Metro Center stop for the 271 CapMetro bus is right across the street.

City documents show the city would pay an amount not exceeding $6.8 million for the property. The Microtel Inn and Suites is appraised at $5.5 million, according to the Travis Central Appraisal District, however, market prices typically differ from appraised value.

If City Council gives staff the green light to negotiate purchase of the hotel, it would mark the second such project in less than a month. On Nov. 14, City Council directed staff to negotiate the purchase of the Rodeway Inn motel at 2711 S. I-35 for conversion into a homeless shelter. As of Dec. 3, negotiations for the Rodeway Inn purchase were still ongoing.

Earlier this week, City Council told city staff to be more transparent as the city moves forward with a strategy to purchase and convert motels and hotels into homeless shelters. City Council emphasized they did not want all the shelters to be near each other or strictly on the east side of town. The city made the potential hotel purchase public on Friday, Dec. 6, with a vote expected on Monday, Dec. 9. The Microtel Inn and Suites is a 4.5-mile drive to the Rodeway Inn and both are located east of I-35.

City Council also said they wanted to see complete business plans for motel/hotel purchases, conversions and maintenance and operations. According to city documents released Friday, the maintenance and operation costs for the Microtel Inn and Suites is unknown, but staff said they expect the cost to be covered through fundraising efforts.

By Christopher Neely

Christopher Neely is Community Impact's Austin City Hall reporter. A New Jersey native, Christopher moved to Austin in 2016 following two years of community reporting along the Jersey Shore. His bylines have appeared in the Los Angeles Times, Baltimore Su


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