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Big day for small hotels: zoning board approves Love, Bowie plans

It was a big day for small hotels at the Fort Worth Zoning Commission meeting on Wednesday, Sept. 9.

Plans for a hotel at 3710-3736 Camp Bowie Boulevard were approved. The plan, submitted by EE Camp Bowie Properties LLC, calls for a 4-story hotel and townhomes that will buffer the neighborhood to the north. Parking for the hotel will be underground and will be valet only. The hotel name listed on the zoning documents is Bowie House Hotel. The 35,686-square foot hotel will have 120 rooms and a maximum height of 51 feet. There will be 11 townhomes as part of the development to the north of the hotel.

There were speakers both for and against the development, but the city staff report suggested approval based upon additional development regulations to mitigate impact to adjacent neighborhood. The Zoning Commission approved the plans unanimously. The project will go next to the City Council at the Sept. 15 meeting.

Smaller, but more controversial were the plans by Chef Tim Love to add nine cabins built from shipping containers to the back portion of the parking lot for Gemelle, Love’s Italian restaurant located just off White Settlement Road.

“The hotel intends to bring the same affluent crowd that its sister restaurant, Gemelle, already captures,” Love had told the Zoning Commission on Wednesday, Aug. 12, when he initially brought the plans to the commission. “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 at the time. “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.”

The property in that area has been a bar and a restaurant (Thurber Mingus) but the zoning has been inconsistent, zoning officials said. While several people spoke against the project, the commission said they felt the changes were minimal to what is already there.

The commission voted to approve the plan with one commissioner, John Aughinbaugh, who represents District 7, voting against the plan.

That project, too, will go before the City Council for a hearing on Sept. 15.

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Robert Francis
Robert is a Fort Worth native and longtime editor of the Fort Worth Business Press. He is a former president of the local Society of Professional Journalists and was a freelancer for a variety of newspapers, weeklies and magazines, including American Way, BrandWeek and InformatonWeek. A graduate of TCU, Robert has held a variety of writing and editing positions at publications such as the Grand Prairie Daily News and InfoWorld. He is also a musician and playwright.

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