The developer of a planned hotel along Camp Bowie Boulevard that raised concerns from Kimbell Art Museum officials will need to reduce the size of the project by 42 rooms to receive an economic incentive from the city.
In addition, the Fort Worth City Council agreed Tuesday to delete from the proposed incentive that the hotel be 12 stories. In changing the parameters, the council veers from policy that it only give incentives to high-end hotel projects that offer at least 200 rooms. In this case, the planned Hotel Renovo will go from 212 rooms to 170 rooms.
The city is now offering to rebate the hotel’s 7 percent city occupancy tax for 18 years and the incentive is capped at $6.7 million. Initially, the incentive was for 16 years and the incentive capped at $7.2 million. The developer must spend at least $41 million on the project, down from $46 million.
The incentive gives Illinois-based Heart of America Group some flexibility with its design and appeases the museum, which felt the planned hotel height would “loom” over its property, particularly an interior courtyard that features a sculpture.
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We’re on the right track here with the concession process. We will just continue to the next step which will be the development process of the actual site plan.
Dennis Shingleton, District 7 Fort Worth City Councilman
“We’re on the right track here with the concession process,” District 7 Councilman Dennis Shingleton said. “We will just continue to the next step, which will be the development process of the actual site plan.”
The change in the incentive package comes after a meeting Friday between the developer, museum officials, city staff and others. The project is in the Museum Place development off of University Drive and Camp Bowie Boulevard.
Kirk Whalen, vice president and general counsel for Heart of American Group, a family-owned business, said Tuesday that because the building’s design is still being finalized, he was not sure how many stories it will be.
We’re still in this process. We’re going to work with all the neighborhood stakeholders and work on design.
Kirk Whalen, Heart of America Group vice president
“We’re still in this process,” he said. “We’re going to work with all the neighborhood stakeholders and work on design.”
Whalen said they are spending considerable money on “smart glass” for the structure. The entire glass system will be connected with computer cable to software that will dim the glass and make it darker to reduce heat coming from it, as well as reflectivity and radiation, he said.
“There can be some technological advancements that change the entire dynamic of the the hotel,” Whalen said.
Whalen said plans still call for the hotel to be built in an 18-month time frame and open by August 2019, before the January 2020 opening of the new arena in the city-owned Will Rogers Memorial Center, which is being done in a public-private partnership.