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Council Report: 1,000-room Convention Center hotel faces delay

🕐 2 min read

The proposed 1,000-room hotel by the Fort Worth Convention Center won’t be breaking ground anytime soon – at least, not within the next five years.

The project will be delayed until the city can provide prospective developers a project timeline and funding plan, which likely won’t be available until about 2022-2025, said Kirk Slaughter, public events director at the City of Fort Worth.

Initial estimates show the hotel costing about $300-$400 million, he said. Rather than moving forward with the hotel right away, Slaughter said the city wants to focus on funding the $450 million multipurpose arena at Will Rogers Memorial Center – a public-private partnership in which the city is paying $225 million.

“If I’m a developer, and I’m going to do a $400 million project, there are some answers that they need,” he said. “I think it’s a little premature for us and the city to be able to offer those answers until we get through with this arena project.”

The city pursued the hotel project after receiving a report from real estate consultant Hunden Strategic Partners in 2014. According to the report, Fort Worth needs a renovated convention center and additional 1,400 hotel rooms in order to remain competitive for large meetings and events. In response, the city began making plans to expand the convention center and build an adjacent 1,000-room hotel.

In September 2015, the city sent out a notice calling for developers who may be interested in the project. After receiving responses, the city narrowed down the list to two companies – Hines and White Lodging, Slaughter said. Hines is based in Houston, while White Lodging is based in Merrillville, Indiana.

Before moving forward, the developers asked for information as to how long the convention center expansion project will last and whether or not the city would provide incentives for the hotel developer. The developers also wanted to know how long it would take to realign Commerce Street, since straightening Commerce Street would create space for the hotel to be built, Slaughter said.

However, according to a city staff report presented to the Fort Worth City Council on March 22, the city did not have that information “due to commitments on other projects, specifically the new Arena at the Will Rogers Memorial Center.”

The arena is expected to open in 2019, Slaughter said.

“There’s several variable factors out there right now,” he said. “At this point, with our focus on the new arena at Will Rogers, we don’t have a lot of those answers.”

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