Lafayette is widely seen as a young city with a booming millennial market — the median age is but 34, according to the Lafayette Economic Development Authority — which is one of the reasons Hilton has chosen the Hub City to expand its latest brand, Tru Hotel. The 44,360-square-foot, 97-room hotel is expected to break ground at 1310 Camellia Blvd. during the first week of March, with a projected February 2018 opening.
According to developer Neal Patel of the AAA Hotel Company, the 1.5-acre property was purchased for $1 million, with the completed project is expected to come in at $5 million.
“It’s a new brand of Hilton, which is targeted toward millennials,” Patel tells ABiz. “It’s scaled toward a new planned trendy area, and that’s the reason we picked that area in particular in Lafayette with all of the new development going on there.”
Patel says Hilton is trying to enter the local mid-scale market, where it didn’t have a presence before.
“We see that it will pull a lot of the millennial crowd out of some of the traditional hotels, because Hilton has researched exactly what millennial people need and what they don’t need,” says Patel.
“And with keeping that in mind, Hilton came up with a price point so that they can afford this type of hotel where the research shows that we will only be providing what the guest needs,” he adds. “We’re not providing anything extra on it, so that way the cost of renting the rooms stays in balance.”
The four-story hotel is being designed by Houston-based architect Siddarth Parekh.
Tru Hotel will offer customers a lower price point for basic amenities like a swimming pool, fitness area, free breakfast area, game room and a gift shop area, but without other traditional amenities like a business center and banquet area.
“This brand is actually a very stripped-down version,” Parekh tells ABiz. “They have removed a lot of those amenities because they’ve researched and found that a lot of millennials don’t use many of those features in a guest room.”
While rooms will offer king and double beds, the individual size of the rooms will be smaller than traditional hotels at 11 feet by 21 feet compared to other hotels that usually have guest rooms that are 12 feet wide with a length of 29 -30 feet.
The rooms will also hold sofa chairs, luggage racks, mini-fridges and a 55” TV in comparison to the usual 42” TV that other traditional hotels offer.
The design of the building itself will also reflect the tastes of the millennial market.
“The exterior elevations are very contemporary,” says Parekh. “All of the colors are contemporary. There’s greys, and there’s a vertical band that has a lot of color in it like a yellow and blue kind of accent band.”
The latest addition to Lafayette’s growing bank of unique hotel brands comes on the heels of positive economic forecasts in the market from LEDA last fall.
According to LEDA, October 2016 hotel/motel receipts totaled $8.5 million, which is 7.1 percent higher than October 2015, while year-to-date hotel/motel receipts are essentially even with 2015 — down by 0.02 percent or $11,000.
Read more about the Tru brand here.