Fort Worth keeps finding ways to get in touch with the river that runs through it and now a local restauranteur wants to add a micro-hotel concept to his riverfront restaurant.
Chef Tim Love, along with partners, Gyant Frog, is planning to add nine cabins built from shipping containers to the back portion of the parking lot for Gemelle, his Italian restaurant located just off White Settlement Road.
“The hotel intends to bring the same affluent crowd that its sister restaurant, Gemelle, already captures,” said Love, speaking to the Zoning Commission on Wednesday, Aug. 12. “With a rack rate of $200 per night, the hotel will have pricing on [the level of] Fort Worth’s leading hotels.”
Love told the commissioners that the hotel will have high quality linens, fresh bread in the room on check-in, electric bikes and kayak rentals “to enjoy for the riverbanks of the Trinity.” Each unit will have a queen-size bed, walk-in shower and refrigerator as well as a glass door and a rooftop deck to present views of the river for the guests. The hotel will be monitored 24-hours-a-day with two additional employees added to his Gemelle operation. The hotel rooms, about 160-square feet, will be lined with cedar and there will also be an 8-foot by 40-foot pool, also built from a container.
“[We will] then install the nine suites, which become this beautiful micro hotel,” he said. “This is really setting our city apart by doing something that’s new. I haven’t found anywhere in the country that’s doing something that is this unique.”
He also pointed out how many of his projects have involved Fort Worth’s waterfront. “It’s important for me to point out that I’ve been in business in Fort Worth for over 20 years, starting with Lonesome Dove on my own,” he said. “I was the very first person to ever redevelop anything on the river, which is Marine Creek, which is behind Lonesome Dove.
“I’ve since then built everything that I own in Fort Worth, including my home that’s on the river. I have a very vested interest in the way things look, feel. The way people anticipate the way it’s going to do on the river, I want to do nothing but impact the river in a very positive way. And I’ve proven that over the 20 years, and I intend to continue to do that.”
The hotel portion of the area sits in the floodplain and Love said his group is working with engineers to see if they need to be raised up a few feet. Love also said the containers will be assembled off site and then brought to the location, minimizing disruption to traffic and noise in the nearby neighborhood.
The project was in front of the Zoning Commission to get some of the area re-zoned to allow a hotel. Love and his partners were hoping to quickly get approval to get the project on the Aug. 18 Fort Worth City Council meeting. However, there were several neighbors in the area who voiced concerns that they had not been aware of the plans. Some of the neighbors said they might approve of the plans but hadn’t had time to study the project. Zoning commissioners voted to continue the item for a month to give Love and his partners to reach out to neighbors who might be impacted. If the commission approves the plans at its next meeting, the City Council will hear the item on Sept. 15. Approval may also be needed from the Tarrant Regional Water District which deals projects along the river.