News for the Hospitality Executive
|By Anna M. Tinsley, Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Texas
Knight Ridder/Tribune Business News
Feb. 4, 2004 - FORT WORTH, Texas -- City leaders laid the groundwork Tuesday for a six-year tax abatement worth nearly $330,000 for developers planning a $7.1 million, 102-room western-themed AmeriSuites hotel in the heart of the historic Stockyards.
The City Council approved, 7-2, creating a reinvestment zone in the Stockyards, the first step toward qualifying the project for economic-development assistance. Councilmen Clyde Picht and Chuck Silcox voted against the proposal.
"This is really what we've all hoped would happen," said Councilman Jim Lane, who represents the north side, including the Stockyards. "This project is right on target."
Developers say the 5-story hotel, on which they could break ground in the next three months, would fulfill a longtime goal of having a family-friendly hotel in the area.
The hotel, AmeriSuites Historical Stockyards, would be on the south side of East Exchange Avenue behind the Stockyards visitors center. It could open early next year.
Council members could vote as soon as next week on whether to approve the abatement.
"We've watched development take place, and we've seen the opportunity for growth," Mayor Mike Moncrief said. "This modest abatement is the smallest thing I've seen come across this table since I arrived."
Stockyards Station General Manager Gary Brinkley said the abatement is needed to help reduce the cost of the project.
Because part of it will be on a flood plain, builders will need to construct a retaining wall, elevate a floor 7 feet and encapsulate an elevator, adding $750,000 to the cost, Brinkley said.
The development has been promoted largely by Fort Worth businessman Holt Hickman, who, with his partners, owns 108 acres in the Stockyards Historic District.
To get a tax break, the developers would have to create 32 to 35 jobs and fill 80 percent of them with central-city residents.
Developers would also be required to invest $6.3 million in real and personal property, use Fort Worth contractors for at least 35 percent of the work and hire local minority- and women-owned contractors for at least 25 percent of the work.
The project would also be required to spend at least $550,000 a year, at least 60 percent of it with Fort Worth suppliers and 25 percent with local minority- and women-owned suppliers.
The hotel would be built through a partnership with Stockyards Station and TEKMAK Development Co. The architect is Schwerdt Design Group, the civil engineer is Kimley-Horn and Associates, and the contractor is Hillcrest Development.
The hotel would offer mostly suites, probably for $85 to $90 a night.
Plans include offering guests an elaborate continental breakfast but encouraging them to go to the Stockyards area for lunch and dinner.
"This is going to be ideal for the Stockyards -- to make it a destination place where we can attract medium-sized groups and provide accommodations for families," said Tom Kirkland, TEKMAK president. "We hope families will spend more time in the Stockyards than they would normally.
"We're anxious to get started," Kirkland said.
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(c) 2004, Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Texas. Distributed by Knight Ridder/Tribune Business News. PDQ,