NewcrestImage, the Dallas-based company that opened the first AC Hotel by Marriott in the U.S., has broken ground on a new property under the upscale brand, this one in Phoenix.

NEWCRESTIMAGE HAS BROKEN ground on a 199-room, 13-floor AC Hotel by Marriott in Phoenix. The upscale hotel, scheduled to open in 2021, will be the first for the Dallas-based company in the western U.S.

The Phoenix AC Hotel, a joint venture with Las Vegas-based LaPour Partners, will be in Arizona Center, a million-square-foot mixed use site with shopping, entertainment, dining, and office space.  It will include 3,400 square feet of meeting space, including two media salons and a board room.

“This property is a powerful new crown jewel for downtown Phoenix, and it is an important step in expanding our company’s leadership nationwide, beyond our traditional home in the south and southwest,” said NewcrestImage Chairman and CEO Mehul Patel.

The company announced its plan for a nationwide expansion in July,  setting a target of $2 billion in growth and hiring two new finance executives, David Perel as chief investment officer and Caroline Lerner Perel as chief development officer, to oversee the expansion.

David will raise and invest $250 million in equity for investment while Caroline will evaluate and recommend investment opportunities. The plan is for the company to expand from coast to coast, Patel said in July.

“Our company is ready to move to the next level of hotel achievement,” Patel said. “We will now offer investors a unique opportunity to benefit from our proven record and reputation for creating long-term value.”

The expansion plan includes acquisition of existing properties, new-build projects, and adaptive re-use of historic buildings. The company currently owns and operates 28 hotels in Texas, Oklahoma, and Louisiana with 15 properties under construction or in development in states like Arizona, Ohio and Oregon.

NewcrestImage opened the first AC Hotel in the U.S. in 2013. In August the company opened a dual-branded AC Hotel and Residence Inn at Frisco Station in Frisco, Texas. It also opened a 195-room, 10-floor AC Hotel in downtown Houston that is a historic renovation.

Last year, NewcrestImage expanded into third-party management with the 163-room Holiday Express Inn & Suites at Dallas-Fort Worth Airport North. And, in March, Mehul Patel, Chirag Patel, and Mital Patel, operating under an investment group named Bright Force Holding, LLC, purchased Dallas-based American Bank.