Construction on downtown Courtyard Marriott to begin as downtown Marriott Autograph opens

    Construction is slated to begin next month on the 135-room Courtyard Marriott at the intersection of Florida and Third streets downtown. The exact groundbreaking date has not yet been set.

    Developer Windsor Aughtry Hotel Group, of South Carolina, has notified those who have monthly parking contracts for the surface lot on the site of the planned hotel that parking will no longer be available as of July 31 in preparation for the start of construction.

    “Windsor Aughtry is planning to close with the lender in the next two or three weeks, and the construction should begin in August,” says Gordon “Skeet” Leblanc, who, with his family members, owned the parking lot and is now a part owner of the hotel project.

    Construction on the Courtyard Marriott is running slightly behind schedule. Earlier this year, Windsor Aughtry officials said they hoped to break ground in late May or early June so that the hotel would be ready in time for the fall 2017 football season.

    Though the opening has now been pushed back to late 2017, Leblanc says the hotel will be poised to take advantage of several big winter events—namely, the Louisiana Marathon, which is held in January, and Mardi Gras, which will be in mid-February in 2018.

    Earlier this year, Windsor Aughtry officials said an increase in construction costs over the past year had driven up the price tag of the project nearly 10%, from $22 million to some $24 million.

    The Courtyard is one of two Marriott hotels planned for downtown. Developer Mike Wampold’s Marriott Autograph hotel, which will be called The Watermark, is scheduled to open later this summer. The 146-room upscale hotel will be located at 150 Third St., just one block from the Courtyard Marriott.

    —Stephanie Riegel

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