HB Exclusive: Life House to manage Hotel Ella

Tech-enabled hotel management company Life House has been tapped to operate Hotel Ella in Austin, adjacent to the University of Texas.

The 46-room property is owned by Peter Rex, a tech entrepreneur and investor whose company, Rex, has invested in several properties across the region in addition to new technology ventures focused on solving pain points in owning and operating real estate.

The property is an original Austin landmark that was purchased in the late 19th century by Dudley Wooten, one of the founders of the University of Texas. Wooten’s son, Goodall Dudley, and his wife, Ella, moved into the home on the property in 1900 and later transformed it into the Greek revival mansion that stands there today. The building has a long tradition of hospitality, serving as a boarding house, dormitory and rehabilitation center before becoming a boutique hotel. An extension was built in the 1980s and a full renovation was done in 2013.

“As the Austin market continues to boom, Hotel Ella provides a unique offering with its close proximity to the University and world-renowned cultural institutions like the Blanton Museum of Art,” Peter Rex, founder/executive chairman, Rex, told Hotel Business. “We look forward to bringing Hotel Ella into a new phase with Life House. They share our vision of making owning and operating real estate easier and more profitable through innovative technology.”

Bryan Dunn, managing director/head of growth, Life House, added, “Innovation is at the heart of what we do, and we found a natural partner in Rex. We both take a tech-first approach to real estate ownership and hotel management and together we plan to bring best-in-class service and experience to guests at Hotel Ella.”

Rex has filed initial plans for a $100-million expansion of the property that would encompass 213 rooms with 172 parking spaces. Both Life House and Rex are actively seeking acquisition opportunities throughout Austin, Dallas and San Antonio metropolitan areas, in addition to opportunities in drive-to leisure locations throughout Texas Hill Country.