Waggoner Building owners request TIF assistance as part of hotel development

Waggoner building

The W.T. Waggoner Building, 810 Houston St., is set to become the new Sandman Signature Hotel —– the second hotel of its kind in the United States. Sandman Signature is owned by Canada-based Northland Properties.

This project will add another full-service hotel to downtown Fort Worth just as the city is preparing to upgrade the Fort Worth Convention Center. Furthermore, the move aligns with the city’s Economic Development Strategic Plan, which calls for accelerating downtown Fort Worth’s growth into one of the state’s premier mixed-use business districts.

The W.T. Waggoner Building was originally built in 1920 and was one of the tallest buildings in the southwestern United States at the time of its completion. Architecturally, it is known for its ornate entrance lobby, as well as its vaulted banking lobby and elevator hall.

The building is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and was most recently used as office space by XTO Energy before being purchased last year by Northland Properties, owners of the Dallas Stars NHL team.

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The 20-story building is set to undergo a renovation as it transitions from offices into a hotel that will boast a minimum of 240 rooms and 1,500 square feet of meeting space. As part of this effort, Northland has requested assistance with up to $8 million in costs for public improvements associated with the project, such as landscaping, utilities and historical preservation and restoration.

These public improvements will be reimbursed by the city’s Lancaster Tax Incremental Financing District (TIF), contingent upon certain performance requirements that must be met by the hotel. The TIF reimbursement will not kick in until the hotel has been fully operational for two years, and it outperforms its financial projections, the amount reimbursed from the TIF will be reduced.

“We’re thrilled that Northland Properties is committed to preserving such an iconic Fort Worth building,” said Robert Sturns, director of economic development for the City of Fort Worth. “This project celebrates Fort Worth’s past while still supporting the current and future growth of downtown, and we look forward to the Sandman Signature Hotel being part of our growing community.”

JLL announced earlier this year the firm completed the sale of the WT Waggoner Building on behalf of XTO Energy Inc. to Northland Properties Corporation.

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Northland Properties has long been known for its work in hotels, restaurants, sports, and construction and is the parent company to Sandman Hotel Group, The Sutton Place Hotels, the Dallas Stars of the NHL, the Texas Stars, Moxie’s Grill & Bar, and Shark Club Sports Bar & Grill.

JLL Executive Vice President Ryan Matthews represented the energy company in the transaction after leading marketing efforts for the asset. CBRE’s David Walters and Marty Neilon represented Northland.

The WT Waggoner Building currently has 119,846 square feet of existing office space. The ground floor bank and elevator lobby was restored in 2003 to match the original finishes that date back to 1920 when the building’s first tenant, Continental National Bank, occupied the building. The building’s U-shape floor plan allows for abundant natural light which could help if the building were to be repositioned to another use. The sale also includes the adjacent surface parking lot – one of (if not the only) remaining undeveloped lots in downtown Fort Worth.

“The historical relevance of the WT Waggoner Building makes this the perfect hotel asset for us,” said Tom Gaglardi, President and CEO of Northland Properties. “With the opening of our first hotel in Plano in the next few weeks, we are excited to continue to expand throughout Texas, and we think Fort Worth is a fantastic market for us to grow into.”