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Guest donaltopablo

New Hyatt for Austin

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Lodging giant Hyatt Hotels Corp. is preparing to plant its flag in Bastrop County.

A representative of Chicago-based Hyatt says the company is in the final stages of due diligence for a resort in Bastrop. Sources say the resort would cost $125 million and cover 635 acres.

Hyatt declines to give specifics on the project. The proposed resort would be off State Highway 71 between Austin-Bergstrom International Airport and Bastrop.

Hyatt already operates the 446-room Hyatt Regency Austin at 208 Barton Springs Road along Town Lake.

Dallas-based Woodbine Development Corp. would develop the resort on land purchased from the Austin-based Lower Colorado River Authority.

The resort would be the first of its kind in Bastrop, featuring amenities such as an 18-hole golf course and a full spa. The area's largest hotel now only has 40 rooms.

Despite its luxury accommodations, the hotel could run into obstacles.

Scott Joslove, president and CEO of the Texas Hotel and Lodging Association, says suburban hotels don't always grab their share of the action when it comes to large local events.

"The challenge for hotels in outlying areas are that they don't always feel the impact of downtown major events, such as South by Southwest," Joslove says.

However, any type of a resort is good news for the quiet suburb of Bastrop.

"Any major hotel like this will bring the single largest positive change the community has seen in many years," says Joe Newman, president and CEO of the Bastrop Economic Development Corp.

Sources say the hotel will be built in the style of San Antonio's Hyatt Hill Country Resort and Spa. That resort features a full-service spa, a 950-foot tubing pool and water playground, nature trails and an 18-hole Arthur Hills-designed golf course. The resort, with 500 rooms, is situated on 200 acres.

The Bastrop resort would be adjacent to the LCRA's McKinney Roughs Nature Park. McKinney Roughs is a 1,100-acre preserve with 16 miles of hiking trails, river floating activities and an outdoor amphitheater.

LCRA spokesman Robert Cullick says the agency agreed to sell the land to Woodbine based on preliminary plans for a resort.

"We believe what they [Woodbine] plan to do is consistent and will provide an additional benefit to the nature park," Cullick says.

Joslove says the beautiful surroundings are a great marketing tool for the proposed resort.

"A big part of how well a resort does is how well they can market it," Joslove says. "Being in an outlying city, they would need to do quite a bit of advertising and marketing to attract sufficient traffic."

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This project is now called "Hyatt Regency Lost Pines Resort and Spa" and is scheduled to open in the summer of 2006. It will include a 500 room hotel, 50,000 sf of function space, full service spa, 18-hole golf course, 16 miles of hiking and equestrian trails, and a water park with multiple pools.

http://lostpines.hyatt.com/property/index.jhtml

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