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Group planning hotel on former Armour Packing Plant site in Stockyards

Developers are planning to build a $21 million, 120-room, four-star hotel on the site of the former Armour Packing Plant in Fort Worth’s Stockyards. The city’s Economic Development department briefed Fort Worth City Council members on the project on Oct. 10.

The developers, Niles City Resorts Ltd., are seeking a maximum $1 million tax incentive through a 15-year, 380 agreement with the city. The council will vote on the project at its Oct. 17 meeting.

If the city agrees to enter into an agreement, the company is committing a $21 million capital investment with a minimum of 40 full-time employees and all-masonry facade designed to reflect the historical and architectural heritage of the Stockyards.

In return for their commitment, Niles City is asking the city of Fort Worth to enter into a 15-year agreement that would reimburse the developer 40 percent of the city’s incremental property taxes, capped at $1 million for a 21-1 private-to-public ratio.

“I’m excited about getting this going,” said Philip Murrin, principal with Niles City Resorts Ltd.

In renderings shown to the city council, the group plans a hotel with a façade that uses bricks similar in texture and color to those used in the Armour Packing Plant that was once in the area. An earlier design that resembled a more traditional hotel would cost less, but would not have the look and feel of the Stockyards area.

“The upgrade in the design and materials to produce this is increasing the costs of the project,” said Michael Hennig, of Fort Worth’s Economic Development department during the council’s Work Session on Oct. 10.

That caused the developers to seek the economic development agreement with the city, he said.

The agreement will be on the city council’s Oct. 17 agenda.

“I think it’s extremely important we approve this,” said District 9 City Councilman Dennis Shingleton. “This building will set the precedent on what the others buildings should be and what our expectation is that they will be conforming to the design picture we demonstrated throughout the Stockyards. “

The breakdown of the project also requires the developer to spend 30 percent of the hard construction costs with Fort Worth companies, 15 percent of the hard construction costs with Fort Worth Minority/Women Business Enterprise companies, 15 percent of utilization of Fort Worth companies for services and supplies, and 15 percent utilization of Fort Worth M/WBE companies for services and supplies.

Henning said the tax benefit to the city over a decade would include $960,000 from tax increment financing, and almost $8 million from hotel occupancy tax (arena fund). Altogether, the estimated tax revenue would be over $9.3 million.

District 5 Council Member Gyna Bivens called herself a “Stockyards baby” and recalled how her mother would take her father to work at 3 in the morning in the Stockyards.

“This is our history,” she said.

District 6 Council Member Jungus Jordan likened the project to Montgomery Plaza, calling it “a catalyst to make things happen.”

A 16.8-acre site of the historic, former Armour meatpacking plant in Fort Worth’s Stockyards was acquired in 2014 by Niles City Resorts from Chesapeake Land Development Co. The site sits atop a hill on East Exchange Street overlooking the Stockyards. Investor and Stockyards businessman Philip Murrin, son of the former Fort Worth City Councilman Steve Murrin, represented Niles City in the negotiations when it was purchased. – Additional reporting by Robert Francis, with material from the FWBP archives. 

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