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Energy XTO Sale: Historic Waggoner Building may become hotel

XTO Sale: Historic Waggoner Building may become hotel

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Robert Francis
Robert Francis
Robert is a Fort Worth native and longtime editor of the Fort Worth Business Press. He is a former president of the local Society of Professional Journalists and was a freelancer for a variety of newspapers, weeklies and magazines, including American Way, BrandWeek and InformatonWeek. A graduate of TCU, Robert has held a variety of writing and editing positions at publications such as the Grand Prairie Daily News and InfoWorld. He is also a musician and playwright.

One of Fort Worth most historic buildings may become a hotel.

JLL announced Aug. 7 it has completed the sale of iconic W.T. Waggoner Building in Fort Worth to Northland Properties Corp., whose president and CEO is Tom Gaglardi, owner of the Dallas Stars.

The sale marks the fifth disposition of seven downtown properties once owned by XTO Energy.

Irving-based Exxon Mobil Corp., owner of XTO Energy, announced in 2017 it planned to sell six of the buildings it owns in Fort Worth and would transfer 1,600 workers to Houston by 2020.

“We are excited to see this building sold to someone with a grand vision for its reuse,” said Andy Taft, president of Downtown Fort Worth Inc. “Visit Fort Worth tells us we need more hotels downtown to attract more conventions and visitors.”

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. JLL has already facilitated the sale of four of XTO’s seven Fort Worth buildings, totaling 281,204 square feet of office space. The sale prices were not undisclosed.

Northland Properties is involved in a variety of ventures, including hotels, restaurants, sports and construction. Northland 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.

“The historical relevance of the W.T. Waggoner Building makes this the perfect hotel asset for us,” said 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.”

Northland Properties is building a Sandman Signature hotel in Plano.

The W.T. 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 sale also includes the adjacent surface parking lot.

The structure was built in 1911 by oil and cattle baron W.T. Waggoner and was the tallest building west of the Mississippi at the time. It was designed by Sanguinet & Staats and reportedly cost $1.5 million. Waggoner was a rancher and oil man, whose daughter, Electra Waggoner, occupied Thistle Hill in Fort Worth.

The building was owned by XTO Energy in the early days of the company and, like many of the company’s buildings at the time, refurbished under the careful eye of Bob R. Simpson, who was eventually CEO of the company.

The Waggoner Building is close to the Fort Worth Convention Center and Sundance Square with its many shopping, dining and entertainment spots.

“In addition to its iconic status as one of downtown Fort Worth’s most recognizable and historic buildings, the W.T. Waggoner Building’s centralized location and the potential for future development on the remainder of the block make this a terrific investment for the new owners,” said Matthews. “Throughout the transition process, XTO has been careful and mindful in identifying a partner who will ensure the integrity of these assets for the betterment of our city. We are proud of the result for all of those involved.”

JLL announced the sale of XTO’s first four downtown assets in January.

The other XTO properties already sold are:

• The Binyon-O’Keefe Building at 210 E. Seventh St. in downtown.

• The former Swift & Co. Building at 600 E. Exchange Ave. in the Stockyards. It was sold as office space.

• The Montgomery Ward/Tindall Storage building at 801 Grove St. in downtown. It was bought by the Fort Worth Transportation Authority as its future headquarters.

• The Petroleum Building, another historic downtown building owned by XTO, was acquired by Sundance Square. That 14-story office building occupies a city block at West Sixth Street between Houston and Throckmorton streets. Built in 1927, the building was restored in 2004 by XTO Energy.

Designed by Wyatt C. Hedrick for businessman Richard Dulaney, the building features Art Deco elements and has gone through several alterations over its 90-year history.

XTO’s remaining properties are the Bob R. Simpson building at 711 Houston St. and the building at 714 Main St. that was formerly known as the Transport Life Building and the Continental Life Insurance Building.

XTO has indicated that it plans to keep one building to accommodate about 350 employees who will remain in Fort Worth but has not announced which one.

This report includes information from the FWBP archives.

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