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New hotel plans take shape for Cultural District

🕐 3 min read

It looks as though there will be a new hotel in Fort Worth’s Cultural District after all.

Several months after a previous plan fell through because of opposition from several museums and area residents, a well-known group that specializes in hotels near museums is looking to build one in Fort Worth at a site near the Kimbell Art Museum.

District 7 Councilman Dennis Shingleton said though nothing has been officially announced from the company, the hotel looks more in line with what community members were looking far.

The developer is expected to be 21C Museum Hotels, a Kansas City-based company that specializes in museum hotels that include a multi-venue contemporary art museum, coupled with a boutique hotel and chef-driven restaurant. This would be their first venture into Texas, with the nearest being in Oklahoma City.

Bennett Benner Partners has a request that will go before the Urban Design Commission on Thursday, Dec. 20 seeking some variations for the new hotel. The location is at Camp Bowie Boulevard and Van Cliburn Way.

The hotel is expected to have around 170 rooms, meeting space, and a restaurant with a bar. It will also be within walking distance of the Dickies Arena, which is expected to open in November of 2019, though the hotel would likely not open until shortly after the arena.

The decision comes in the wake of the previous plan which saw Heart of America, based out of Illinois, failing in its attempts to bring a Hotel Renovo into the area. The group tried twice, with the first concept being deemed too tall and casting a shadow on the Kimbell and its sculpture garden. Then, after reducing the size by 10 stories, the group’s request for tax incentives was turned down by city officials.

The city’s Urban Design Commission is meeting Thursday with Bennett to further discuss design code. After the deal with Heart of America fell through, a height limit of 60 feet was put in place for any new buildings in the area, but Bennett is expected to ask for a few more feet, still respecting the view from the Kimbell.

He said he plans to have a 3-D model presentation that will show the design board the view from inside the Kimbell, proving they will not block the view.

He is also expected to ask for the allowance of hotel drop-off areas on Camp Bowie and Van Cliburn.

“We are very early in the design process,” said Bennett. “The purpose of this zoning meeting is to learn more about the perimeters we’re working with.”

Bennett said they will be informing interested parties as the hotel plans develop.

“You’ve got to bring everybody along, make sure you’re not surprising anybody,” he said.

Shingleton said the company is also expected to apply for tax abatements from the city, which will be addressed at an upcoming council meeting. The city council is on holiday break until Jan. 8.

“It should be a very, very nice upscale hotel. It will fit into that cultural district very well,” Shingleton said. “I don’t think there will be any problem with them. They have building standards that conform to that neighborhood.”

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