Aloft hotel breaks ground in Cortex
A hotel designed for millennials and young professionals is coming to the Cortex innovation district in St. Louis.
Officials held a groundbreaking ceremony Wednesday for the $25 million hotel. St. Louis-based Midas Hospitality and MC Construction are building the 129-room hotel under the “Aloft by Mariott” brand at the corner Boyle and Duncan avenues.
Midas Hospitality CEO David Robert told the crowd the lifestyle hotel is aimed at young professionals and will include a large fitness center, indoor pool and outdoor space overlooking the Cortex Commons.
"It’ll be really cool,” Robert said.
The hotel is expected to open in the fall of 2019 and marks a milestone in the history of the Cortex district, according to Hank Webber. The executive vice chancellor for administration at Washington University is also the chairman of the Cortex board of directors.
“When you look at innovation districts, they take a while,” Webber said. “We’re in a period of great momentum. Now, the challenge is to keep it going.”
The 280-acre district counts large national companies like Microsoft, Boeing, Aon and Square among its tenants, along with many one-person startups.
The total number of employees in the Cortex district is expected to top 5,000 next month. Webber said that kind of momentum means there’s more room to grow.
"Now we’ve got the density and demand to support a hotel, to support a variety of restaurants. So it builds on itself,” he said.
Cortex eventually expects 12,000 to 13,000 employees.
Aldermen Joe Roddy, D-17, said the growth of the innovation district is spilling over into areas outside the Central West End, including the 18th, 19th, and 28th wards.
"I think what’s occurring here in the 17th ward is really propping up and acting as an economic engine for about the 12 or 14 square miles that surround the [new Metrolink] station and the groundbreaking here.
The Cortex Metrolink station is scheduled to open next week, one block from the hotel construction site.
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