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Houston's ancient airport hotel is in line for a $40 million makeover

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Houston Airport Marriot at George Bush Intercontinental Airport exterior night
The IAH Marriott will sport a new, two-tone paint scheme if Houston City Council approves a $40 million renovation plan.  Marriott.com
Houston Airport Marriott at George Bush Intercontinental Airport guest room bedroom
Guest rooms will be thoroughly updated.  Marriott.com
Houston Airport Marriott at George Bush Intercontinental Airport lobby
The biggest changes will be in the lobby, which will feature a new restaurant and seating areas.  Marriott.com
Houston Airport Marriot at George Bush Intercontinental Airport exterior night
Houston Airport Marriott at George Bush Intercontinental Airport guest room bedroom
Houston Airport Marriott at George Bush Intercontinental Airport lobby

"Not only does it have that 1960s architecture, it's just in need of a full-blown renovation," said Ian Wadsworth, the Houston Airport System's chief commercial officer. "It looks its age. The facility is over 40 years old at his point."

Wadsworth was referring to the Marriott Hotel at George Bush Intercontinental Airport in a Chronicle quote. Host Hotels and Resorts, which built the hotel and leases land from the city, has proposed a $40 million renovation project to bring the airport hotel up to modern standards. The project's goal is to freshen up the look of a place that might be the only part of Houston travelers see as they pass through the city.

 The hotel pays 10 percent of gross revenues as rent, with a minimum payment of $1.5 million. 

Among the proposed changes are new paint, elevators, escalators and interior improvements, but the highlight will be an all new lobby. It would feature more extensive seating areas, a new bar and a new restaurant that will serve three meals a day. Taken together, the new changes are designed to make both domestic and international visitors feel welcome. 

Host Hotels presented the plan to Houston City Council this week. In exchange for spending the money on renovations, it has requested the Council approve a new, 40 year lease on the facility, guarantee that another hotel won't be built on the airport property for 10 years and contribute to the lobby remodeling by waiving $2.5 million in rent payments.

The hotel pays 10 percent of gross revenues as rent, with a minimum payment of $1.5 million. It usually contributes $3.5 million to the airport system, according to Houston Airport System director Mario Diaz.

If council approves the plan, Host plans to begin construction before the end of the year and complete the renovations in 18 to 24 months. 

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