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Friday, February 26, 2021

Zoning commission nixes a hotel in Waterside; Council will consider April 3

The developers of Waterside have not abandoned plans for a five-story, extended stay hotel on a site in the development that was snubbed by the Fort Worth Planning and Commission on Wednesday.

The commission denied Trademark Property Co., developer of Waterside, a zoning change that would have allowed construction of a 119-room hotel near the center of the development at Arborlawn Drive and Bryant Irvin Road in Southwest Fort Worth rather than on another site that was already slotted for hotel development.

“We are very disappointed,” said Terry Montesi, CEO of Trademark said. “We will continue to work with the City Council and talk with area residents and stakeholders about this project that brings significant investment in the area to meet a need.”

The City Council will consider the issue April 3.

A group of residents from Riverhills subdivision in the Edwards Ranch development protested the zoning amendment because the proposed hotel would be within 1,000 feet of eight homes in the upscale neighborhood.

Neighbors said the development plans for Waterside were carefully vetted and two other hotel sites within Waterside were chosen, including one that is 560 feet from the nearest home.

“The neighborhood was told there would be a boutique hotel along the river and we need them to stay true to their word,” said Melissa Lindelow, an attorney representing the Riverhills Homeowners Association.

Lindelow and homeowners spoke against plans for extended stay hotel instead of a small, full-service boutique hotel. Others were concerned for the potential of three hotels on the 63-acre site, the former location of the Lockheed Martin Recreation Association.

“This feels a switch and bait,” Lindelow said.

Montesi said there were never plans for three hotels in Waterside. Rather, the zoning change would swap one existing site for another, Montesi said.

“The site we want is 720 feet from residential property,” he said.

One of the other sites is closer to the Trinity River and within 134 feet of the proposed new site, Montesi said.

The advantage of the proposed new site is that it closer to the shops and restaurants within the development, enhancing walkability of the development.

“We can make use of an existing parking garage and that cuts down on the number of parking spaces we would need,” Montesi said.

The Raymond Group., a Wisconsin-based hotel development and management firm, is planning to spend $20 million on a Residence Inn by Marriott hotel in Waterside. This firm developed the new Hampton Inn & Suites downtown as well as Homewood Suites by Hilton and Hilton Garden Inn in Midtown.

Montesi said the hotel would be an upscale property on three acres similar to a boutique brand without a full-service restaurant. It would serve the development as well as nearby businesses such as Acme Brick, who are interested in having a hotel close to their headquarters.

He said he believes the dispute with neighbors could be linked to competition from the Cassco Development Co., which is developing the sprawling Edwards Ranch as Clearfork about a mile north of Waterside. Riverhills is a neighborhood within the Clearfork development.

“Good public policy doesn’t choose between competitors,” Montesi said. “It should be based on what’s best for the community and economic development.”

Bob Riley of Halff Associates, which represents Trademark in the zoning process, said Trademark has made a $170 million investment in Waterside. Whole Foods Market is an anchor tenant of Waterside, which also has REI, Sur la Table, Taco Diner and other top retailers as tenants.

Also, on Wednesday, the Planning and Zoning Commission approved a zoning change that will allow Texas Christian University to build a new administration building with a gateway entrance in the area of Wabash, Bellaire Drive and W. Berry Street.

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