Converted shipping container hotel to open in Texas

Hotel Herringbone, a 21-room boutique hotel and community hub, is slated to open in Waco, Texas, in March of 2024.

San Diego-based Rad Lab partnered with FreeForm Development, Lucky Find Hospitality, and local chef and restaurateur Corey McEntyre to acquire what was once a shipping container development that had stalled and long sat vacant. With the site taking up an entire city block in the middle of downtown Waco, the group saw an opportunity to transform it into an epicentre of culture for the city of Waco, highlighting food, art, music, retail and community gatherings. The build-out also incorporates energy-efficient finishes and environmentally sustainable development practices.

The existing development was reimagined by Rad Lab, experts in sustainable and innovative shipping container architecture, while construction is being executed in partnership with FreeForm Development, and interior design led by Taylor Leage. “We aimed to showcase layered elements stemming from the wide-ranging regions and history through the lens of a 20th century world traveler and her husband – evoking the feeling of your grandmother’s attic, filled to the brim and brought to life as if it were brand new,” says Leage.

“The design also aimed to highlight the existing architecture created by the modular pods on the exterior but, once inside, it transforms into a world of nostalgia reminiscent of a feeling with no specific time or place. We used a wide array of design aesthetics, from old-world to retro mod. Art Nouveau detailing is balanced out with modern futuristic forms, and a bright, bold, modern colour palette to bring in a light sense of humor and new life.”

Hotel Herringbone will offer 21 Art Deco-inspired guestrooms that range in size – from a stylish 230ft² entry-level room to a 1,300ft² multiple-bedroom presidential suite, featuring three king beds and an expansive outdoor terrace with tropical flora, soft seating and fire pits. The rooms are warmed by colourful monochromatic, mid-century and 1920s design details, with unique features such as Roman-style bathtubs and intricate custom-millwork framing.

The primary objective of Hotel Herringbone is to offer visitors, guests and the Waco community a place to gather for an elevated entertainment experience. The Hotel Herringbone team designed and built a landscaped 15,000ft² public plaza showcasing 12 highly-curated retail spaces, a shaded outdoor children’s play area, a large stage for regular live music performances, and a European-inspired al fresco restaurant, Songbird.

Adjoining the plaza is Red Herring, a 6,000ft² fine dining restaurant and craft cocktail bar. Leage adds: “The Red Herring design-intent was led with a heavier pull on Mid-Century arts and crafts, mod, ’70s lounge, terrarium and disco, evoking the rose-coloured lens of a comfortable yet dimly-lit mid-century home with the girl-next-door sipping whiskey and listening to records.”

On the top floor of the property is Lucky Buck’s, a spacious rooftop venue serving deli-inspired cuisine to a backdrop of sweeping views of downtown Waco and the Magnolia Silos. The space has been designed to feel lived-in and comfortable, with leather couches, antique German tables and a shuffleboard area.

For the hotel’s exterior, the group commissioned muralist Kamea Hadar to paint a large mural on the southeast-facing outside wall of the development.

Rigel Bitterman, CEO of Lucky Find Hospitality, comments: “When we first began looking at the opportunity, we were almost immediately excited by the demographics and data of Waco as a city – it’s exactly what we look for when developing a subscale boutique hotel property. The socio-economic growth, tourism trends and the master plan of the city all looked promising. Then, when we began spending significant time in the market – our team quickly fell in love with the community, the people and the blossoming food, music and art scenes.”

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