When the prospective design of the new Sheraton McKinney Hotel and Conference Center was approved in October, it engendered little enthusiasm among some members of the McKinney City Council and with many in the community as well. The chief complaint was that the design was too plain and not worthy of being the “gateway to the city.”
TownSquareBuzz.com reported in late October that Mayor Brian Loughmiller and Mayor Pro Tem Travis Ussery met with the hotel’s developers to discuss the issues that many had with hotel’s design. The developers were tasked with making the hotel more visually appealing.
At a city council work session on Monday night, the hotel’s developers briefed the council on the newly redesigned plans (shown above). While the basic design of the hotel is the same, the new design features new colors, added stone and masonry, and an increase in awnings, balconies and other design elements. The developers also presented a view of the hotel’s South entrance (shown below), which was not shown when the council previously approved the hotel’s design and elevations.
The city-financed project is set to turn the concrete skeleton located at the northeast corner of the intersection of the Sam Rayburn Tollway and U.S. 75 into a 186-room hotel and 20,000-square-foot event center.
The developers told the council members that the previous design had “lost some of the luster” from the previous incarnation of the Gateway hotel design. The developers said that this new design is “bringing character back to the hotel.”
What isn’t known yet is how much more this new design may cost the city. City Manager Jason Gray told the council that these design changes are “more of menu approach” and the specific design choices can be made by the council once the exact cost implications and effect on the hotel’s construction timeline are known. The total cost of the project is expected to be at least $35 million with the city set to contribute between $18 and $20 million, although the city’s contribution amount may increase based on the new design elements.
The council members hailed the new design. Councilman Ray Ricchi, who previously told TSB that the hotel’s initial design looked like a “50’s hospital,” said the new design was a “dramatic improvement” and a “big step in the right direction.”
Councilwoman Geralyn Kever agreed with Ricchi’s thoughts. “This is a vast improvement,” Kever said.
Mayor Loughmiller said he was “excited by these changes,” and said he felt that the hotel would serve as the anchor for the entire Gateway site.