PoliticsCambria Hotel in Waco opens in time for TIF...

Cambria Hotel in Waco opens in time for TIF grant, tax break


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The Cambria Hotel, the first of three East Waco hotel projects by KB Hotels, met its Nov. 10 completion goal, with March completion dates on the horizon for the neighboring Even Hotel and Holiday Inn Express.

The 132-room upscale hotel began rooming guests last week after receiving a temporary certificate of occupancy, which allows the structure to be occupied while awaiting its final checks. The city’s economic development team does not have an estimated time of arrival on the hotel’s final certificate, though the developer is working with planning and inspection services.

The hotel trio, originally slated to wrap up by 2022, has been granted three deadline extensions on its funding agreement with the downtown Tax Increment Financing Zone board. The city in 2018 approved an all-or-nothing $3.2 million incentive for timely completion of all three hotels.

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A separate Chapter 380 grant agreement with the city would have given developer Kenny Bhakta a 55% rebate of hotel occupancy taxes collected on the properties for seven years, with a cap of $4.86 million.

In October, Bhakta requested a third deadline extension due to lingering effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and skilled labor shortages, which the TIF Zone board approved.

City council then voted to approve a Nov. 10 date for the Cambria, a March 1 deadline for the Even and Holiday Inn Express and to renegotiate funding so that the incentive amounts for one hotel are not contingent on the completion of another.

The renegotiated contracts split the TIF Zone funding and hotel occupancy tax allotments among the three hotels:

  • The Cambria Hotel will receive $1.34 million from the TIF Zone and up to $1.72 million in hotel occupancy taxes
  • The 128-room Even Hotel, if complete by March 1, will receive $1.15 million in TIF funding and up to $1.68 million in taxes
  • And the 101-room Holiday Inn Express, if complete by March 1, will receive $780,000 from the TIF and up to $1.46 in taxes.

“I’m thrilled that the Cambria is open and I’m excited for this meaningful capital investment in East Waco to become fully activated,” Mayor Dillon Meek said.

A press release from Choice Hotels, the franchisor of the Cambria brand, says the four-story hotel is the ninth of its brand in Texas.

“With a rich history anchored by academia and agriculture, Texas is quickly becoming a hub for vacationers and business travelers alike,” Choice Hotels Senior Vice President Indy Adenaw said in the press release. “We look forward to expanding Cambria’s unique offering and top-notch amenities to even more guests in the Lone Star State with the opening of the new Cambria Hotel Waco University Riverfront.”

The Even Hotels and Holiday Inn Express brands fall under the IHG Hotels and Resorts hospitality company. Hotel Indigo, which Bhakta also developed, is also an IHG brand.

Everyday rates at the upscale Cambria Hotel start at $119 per night, according to the hotel’s online booking site. Pictures with the listing show the hotel at the corner of Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and Bridge Street to be dressed with soft gray, white, blue and yellow furniture and decor with woody accents.

The facility features the BLVD Steakhouse on-site, a fitness center, two pools, 7,000 square feet of meeting and event space and “spa-inspired bathrooms with Bluetooth mirrors,” the press release says.

Traveling is fun. Traveling in style is even better. Sure, we don’t get to do it often but we finally save up our pennies or pool together those credit card points and get ourselves some fancy accommodation, we really ought to make the most of it. Yair Ben-Dor has more.



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