Council Report: Plan for hotel at 714 Main St. moves forward

In the case of Fort Worth, it’s not if you build it they will come as much as it is, you’d better build it because they’re coming.

With that in mind, the Fort Worth City Council, at its Tuesday meeting, authorized City Manager David Cooke to execute an amendment to the economic development program agreement with 714 Main Real Estate Holdings, LLC for development of a hotel at 714 Main Street. The amendment revises the the minimum operating standards that will be required for the hotel.

While still preserving the requirement that the hotel be operated consistent with the standards of a four star hotel, the developer wants to use an acceptable industry alternative to the “Forbes Travel Guide,” on which such standards are to be based. They proposed to amend the agreement to require the hotel to operate consistent with the standards by either Forbes, AAA, Travelocity, or other recognizable hospitality industry rating guide as deemed acceptable by the city.

“The developer just wanted the option to have these other rating agencies included as a means of meeting the ‘4-star rating’ commitment. If they used another agency, it would need to be at least comparable to ‘Forbes Travel,'” Fort Worth Economic Development Director Robert Sturns said.

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The hotel will be created from the conversion of the existing nearly 190,000 square foot office tower at the site, which formerly housed the Transport Life Building, owned by XTO, which moved its corporate offices to the Houston area. The building was originally built in 1921 and later renovated in 2010.

The 220-room Kimpton hotel will have a minimum four-star rating and will be located at the northwest corner of Main Street and 7th Street downtown. The building will is 24 stories, part of the National Registry of Historic Places, and is considered a City of Fort Worth Highly Significant Endangered Landmark.

The developer has committed to a $56 million capital investment and a minimum of 30 full-time equivalent employees. They have also promised 10,000 square feet of meeting space, a 3,100 square foot restaurant, and a 3,100 square foot penthouse bar.

Economic Development Director Robert Sturns said the economic development program agreement, based on the hotel occupancy tax, will be capped at $6 million.

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The agreement is for 10 years and will incorporate about 58 percent of the city’s 7% hotel occupancy tax. Other public support will include state and federal historic tax credits, and a tax increment finance reimbursement of $650,000.

The estimated benefit over the decade is around $6.2 million.

Other hotels by the developer include the Candler Hotel in Atlanta, the Hotel Van Zandt in Austin, and the Le Meriden Hotel in Houston and Tampa, Florida.