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Once it opens in fall 2019, the new Aloft Hotel will be a first.

The first hotel for the booming Cortex innovation district that employs 5,000 people in Midtown.

The first project by Maryland Heights-based Midas Hospitality and MC Hotel Construction Co. in the city of St. Louis.

But officials say it won’t be the last of anything.

“This is another big step in the development of Cortex…This is not going to be the last major announcement in 2018,” said Hank Webber, chairman of the board of directors of Cortex and executive vice chancellor and chief administrative officer at Washington University.

Webber and about 100 other people turned out for the groundbreaking of the $28 million, 129-room Aloft hotel on Wednesday in Cortex. The five-story hotel is geared towards millennials and young professionals by design and will feature a restaurant, lounge, indoor pool, fitness center and outdoor living space. the hotel is being built in what is essentially the heart of Cortex – nestled next to Vicia Restaurant and across Duncan Avenue from the 4220 building.

“For several years our Cortex clients have urged us to develop a hotel in the district. We can now check this off the wish-list of amenities that support the business needs of our tech companies. The Cortex Aloft will be a vibrant lodging and meet-up destination that adds to our goal of becoming a 24/7 business, residential and retail district in St. Louis’ higher education and medical corridor,” Cortex CEO Dennis Lower said in a statement.

Midas Hospitality is developing the project, and MC Hotel, its affiliate company, is building it. Gray Design Group is the architect. It is the first project in the city of St. Louis for Midas and MC Hotel, which cut their teeth on hotel builds in the South, Southeast and Midwest. Midas and MC Hotel are among St. Louis’ top privately held companies.

The hotel will feature Aloft’s signature WXYZ Lounge.

“We put a lot of pressure on ourselves even if we’re building in Sikeston, Missouri. We want to be very proud of what we do. But we are very proud of this project,” Midas co-owner, founder and CEO David Robert told the Business Journal. “It’s a high-profile area of town and we understand there will be a lot of eyes on us and so we’re going to do our best, as always, to provide a great product, great service. I think it’s going to be very successful.”

The project will generate about 75-100 construction jobs and at least 50 jobs at the hotel once it’s complete, Robert said. MC Hotel has not finalized its subcontractors for the build-portion of the hotel and is still receiving those bids, he added.

Also on hand during the event was: Linda Martinez, deputy mayor for development of the city of St. Louis; Kitty Ratcliffe, CEO of Explore St. Louis; Democratic state Rep. Steven Roberts; and Alderman Joe Roddy.

Roddy said the 17th ward, where Cortex is situated, along with three wards that border it are four of just six wards in the city that have seen an increase in assessed property value from 2008 to 2016, the latest available year for data,  Roddy said. The city, overall, saw a 5 percent decline over that period, he added.

“This area is a tentpole,” Roddy said.

The lobby of the Cortex Aloft Hotel

Source: St. Louis Business Journal by Steph Kukuljan  |  July 25, 2018