Real Estate Rumblings

Hip Houston hotel sold to power players: Name change considered for historic building

Hip Houston hotel sold to power players: Name change considered for historic building

Alden-Houston Hotel lobby
The Alden Hotel Photo by Jordan Chan
003_Mixers on the Map, Easter Seals YUPS, June 2012, Nick Massad, Marisa Starling
Nick Massad (left) brings a wealth of experience to running the Alden. Nick Massad , Marisa Starling Photo by © Michelle Watson/CultureMapSNAP.com
Alden-Houston Hotel lobby
003_Mixers on the Map, Easter Seals YUPS, June 2012, Nick Massad, Marisa Starling

A group led by veteran Houston hotelier Nick Massad has purchased the historic Alden Hotel, a boutique hostelry formerly known as the Sam Houston Hotel.

The 92-room hotel, built in 1924, is located at 1117 Prairie, between Main Street and Minute Maid Park.

A return to the original “Sam Houston Hotel” name for the property is under consideration, said Vicky Massad, chief operating officer for the new owner — American Liberty Hospitality.

 It operated as the Sam Houston Hotel until 1970 when it faded into dormancy for decades. 

“The building is so fantastic,” she said. “We’re intrigued by all the history the building has. We are studying it (a name change) very carefully.”

Under its earlier name of “Sam Houston Hotel”, the hostelry is listed in the National Registry of Historic Places.

Massad is president of Houston-based American Liberty Hospitality, which partnered with Gentry Mills Capital of Dallas to acquire the Alden Hotel for an undisclosed price.

The Alden was recently highlighted by Smart Meetings magazine in an article titled “Ten Hip Hotel Spaces.” The lobby features a colorful wall of rotating light created by David Lander, a renowned architectural and Broadway lighting designer and contemporary sculpture by M.Y. “Michelle” Williams.

The Alden’s Sam Bar and its *17 restaurant have been marketed as pre-game or post-game options for fans attending Houston Astros games.

The hotel was designed by the Sanguinet, Staats, Hedrick & Gottlie architecture firm as a hotel for business travelers. It operated as the Sam Houston Hotel until 1970 when it faded into dormancy for decades.

After an extensive renovation the hotel reopened as the Sam Houston Hotel in 2002. EOC Hospitality of Connecticut purchased the property in 2010 and renamed it Alden-Houston, saying the “Alden” name would open the door to expanding the Alden brand to other cities.

Massad’s group brings a resume with current experience operating in downtown Houston. Massad developed the new 19-story Embassy Suites next to Discovery Green. The 262-room Embassy Suites has been experiencing strong occupancy since it opened in 2011. Masad’s firm owns 13 hotels and has at least three more under development.

Massad is also the major benefactor and board member at the Hilton College of Hotel and Restaurant Management at the University of Houston.