Saw this morning that Jeff Trigger's La Corsha Hospitality Group has been named to take over the Stoneleigh Hotel, which is about to undergo a $25 million redo that will involve everything from the renovating of the rooms and restaurants and bar to the addition of a 5,200-square-foot spa. Keep in mind, as we reported in June, this is being done without any city subsidy at the moment. The council OK'd giving Prescott Realty Group and Apollo Real Estate Advisors $2.5 million in tax incentives, but there ain't really any to give for the next 10-15 years, thanks to the Mercantile project. But the hiring of Trigger to oversee the redo of the hotel is an enormous deal and proof that the owners were serious about rehabbing the joint today rather than a decade from now; they exect to have it done by next summer, and there'll be a condo component to the development as well.
To the outside eye, it looks like the owners picked the right guy: Trigger's most recent project was a massive overhaul of the Driskill Hotel in Austin, which was kinda like the 83-year-old Stoneleigh in that it was a faded jewel in desperate need of polishing. You liked the idea of staying there more than actually paying for the room, in other words. But even without the rooftop pool that was initially promised and promoted at the beginning of its renovations a few years back, the Driskill's as nice as it's ever been, thanks in large part to Trigger--who, incidentally, was more than just a hotelier but also a one-time candidate for the Austin city council and former chair of the Downtown Austin Alliance board, where he was one of the linchpins behind downtown retail development in the capital city, which makes him sort of a two-fer. (He was also part of the Sixth Street Property Owners Group that wanted more retail stores, restaurants and art galleries in downtown Austin to make the nightclub strip more than just a nighttime destination; how very Deep Ellum.)
And he has a long history in the swanky Dallas hotel biz, having been managing director of the Adolphus Hotel in the mid-1980s (when the American Automobile Association gave the joint five big stars) and then managing director of the Mansion on Turtle Creek, which likewise became a prestigious Mobil five-star hotel under Trigger. It was only inevitable that Trigger wind up at the Stoneleigh, among the last historic hotels in town; maybe he'll go to the Melrose next. Speaking of historic local hotels, whatever became of the W, anyway? --Robert Wilonsky