The development group that bought the shuttered Days Inn hotel on the southern end of downtown said it will spend up to $50 million converting the dilapidated structure into another hotel.
New Era Hospitality, a group of doctors and entrepreneurs that bought the building in May, is negotiating with three hotel companies to brand the property.
But demolition has already started on the interiors, which are being gutted and will be replaced with 340 modern suites, 60 standard guest rooms, 32,000 square feet of meeting space and a swimming pool and bar on top of the attached garage.
"It's relieving a huge negative," said commercial real estate broker David Cook of Cushman & Wakefield. "The Days Inn has been the pariah of that part of downtown."
The hotel opened in the 1970s and was a Days Inn before it was taken over by the group, led by late spiritual adviser Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, in the late 1990s.
The partners in New Era said they will know within the next couple of months if the hotel will operate as a Holiday Inn, Sheraton or Marriott.
The group is seeking tax abatements from the city for the project, which will "eliminate an eyesore on the Houston skyline and convert it to a productive asset for the city," said Manzoor Hasan, a partner.
Not only has the building been a blot on downtown's landscape, but it also rises up near the heavily traveled Pierce Elevated.
If all goes as planned, the hotel will be open by January 2010.