Almost three years ago, Starwood Capital Group, led by Barry Sternlicht, announced the launch of "1" Hotel and Residences, a new green luxury brand. The goal was to have 15 hotels signed or under construction within 24 months. The Natural Resources Defense Council signed on to be an advisor for the brand and Starwood Capital Group said that each property would donate 1 percent of revenues to local environmental organizations. The announcement generated a lot of publicity at the time.
According to the "1" website, there are "1" properties in the works in Seattle, Scottsdale, Ariz., Washington, D.C., and New York. Reading the descriptions about each property, one gets the impression that some are already open, but are they? No. I recently called Starwood Capital Group to get an update on "1." A representative of the company said that plans are well under way for several projects, although that could change depending on economy/finance-related factors. Given the lending environment of the past year, it is no surprise the brand has had a difficult time getting off the ground.
This past week an article in the Austin Business Journal stated that a Dallas company--Woodbine Development Co.--intends to develop a 250-room "1" Hotel in Austin, Texas. Construction on the 20-story hotel, according to the article, is expected to begin late next year. The property's owner is Starwood Capital Group. Stay tuned to Green Lodging News for more details on "1."