Austin looks to lease 3 hotels in $3.6 million coronavirus shelter plan

Austin's and Travis County's orders went into place March 25 and require residents to stay home for everything but essential travel. (Christopher Neely/Community Impact Newspaper)
Austin's and Travis County's orders went into place March 25 and require residents to stay home for everything but essential travel. (Christopher Neely/Community Impact Newspaper)

Austin's and Travis County's orders went into place March 25 and require residents to stay home for everything but essential travel. (Christopher Neely/Community Impact Newspaper)

In addition to the Crowne Plaza hotel at 6121 N. I-35, the city of Austin will look to lease two more hotels to house coronavirus patients and vulnerable communities that cannot safely isolate on their own.

City Council will decide April 9 whether to move forward with the lease terms on the 292-room Crowne Plaza, the 129-room La Quinta Inn at 4200 S. I-35 and the 71-room Motel 6 at 8010 N. I-35. The leases are each for 60 days with up to two 30-day extensions. The Crowne Plaza and the La Quinta Inn have been housing coronavirus patients and homeless individuals since late March, according to city officials. The La Quinta Inn is the hotel the city declined to release the location of last week.

If the city uses the lease extensions available, the total package for the hotel leases will cost $3.7 million. The price includes the cost of meals the city will provide patients and staff staying and working at the hotel. According to city documents, the city will provide breakfast, lunch, dinner, a snack and a night shift meal for employees each day. The city estimates, at full capacity, it will serve 1,022 patient meals per day and 30 staff meals per day.

The hotels will be offered to those with confirmed cases of the coronavirus and members of vulnerable communities who cannot safely isolate on their own, according to city staff. Last week, city officials said most of the occupants were people experiencing homelessness; however, one public safety official with the virus was also taking refuge at the Crowne Plaza.

City Council will also look to approve the use of the city’s Sobering Center to house quarantined coronavirus patients.

As of April 7, Travis County had 554 confirmed cases of the coronavirus and seven deaths.

Editors note: This article previously stated that only coronavirus patients would stay at the hotels. This article has been updated to reflect the accurate information. Community Impact Newspaper regrets this error.
By Christopher Neely
Christopher Neely is Community Impact's Austin City Hall reporter. A New Jersey native, Christopher moved to Austin in 2016 following years of community reporting along the Jersey Shore. His bylines have appeared in the Los Angeles Times, Baltimore Sun, USA Today and several other local outlets along the east coast.


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