The long-vacant Hilton Hotel annex and the former United Way building, which are located a block apart from each other on Commerce Street in downtown Fort Worth, have been sold.
The United Way building, 1005 Commerce St., sold to Raymond Management Co. in Wisconsin on Aug. 25, according to deed records. Raymond had been under contract to buy the two-story building since 2011. The building has been vacant since 2008, when the United Way moved its offices to North Main Street.
The Hilton Hotel annex, 811 Commerce St., was sold four days later to a group that in December bought the historic Sinclair Building at Fifth and Main streets. The new owners plan to use the six levels of parking in the 13-story building for Sinclair Building tenants, a representative with the investor group said.
Raymond Management bought the United Way building from Pearl Real Estate, a Lubbock-based hotel group that owns and operates the Embassy Suites hotel downtown. Raymond Management financed the deal with a $3.6 million note with U.S. Bank, deed records show.
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Barry Perkel, Raymond’s real estate director, did not return phone calls seeking comment on the sale and the company’s plans. Previously, Perkel said Raymond wanted to build a $44 million, 210-room Hampton Inn & Suites, with some conference space, a pool, outdoor dining and covered parking. They had hoped to be completed with the project by now.
The property is across Commerce Street from the Fort Worth Convention Center, which will likely undergo a multimillion-dollar renovation and expansion in the coming years. Moreover, recent market studies have called for substantially more hotel rooms in downtown to serve the convention trade.
In 2012, the board of the city’s Lancaster Tax Increment Financing District approved a $3.5 million reimbursement to be used to pay for utility relocation, asbestos abatement, streetscape improvements and permits costs.
Raymond Management owns and operates the 157-room Hilton Garden Inn and the 110-room Homewood Suites in the Midtown development at Forest Park Boulevard and Rosedale Street.
In the second sale, a Fort Worth group calling itself Texas Hotel Annex Llc. bought the nearly 50-year-old annex that was last used in 2006. The building was sold by Richard Rutta in Scranton, Pa., who had owned the property since September 2011 from a foreclosure.
In 2008, Rutta financed the $4.2 million purchase of the property that involved investors from Fort Worth and Austin. That group was interested in turning the property into office condos. The building is connected to the Hilton Fort Worth Hotel by a skywalk across Commerce Street. The annex had 223 hotel rooms. The main hotel property opened in 1921 as the Hotel Texas.
Farukh Aslam, owner of the STS Tower in downtown Fort Worth who represented the investor group that bought the Sinclair Building in December and now the hotel annex, said his group was not able to buy a parking lot at Fifth and Jones streets that is currently being used by the Sinclair Building tenants.
Aslam said he was given a year to find parking, because the tenant parking lot is being sold to another party. The hotel annex parking will provide about 200 spaces, he said.
Aslam said he has consultants looking at the floors above the parking levels for possible development. “We are exploring a few different things for the upper floors,” he said. “It needs a lot of work.”
Bill Behr with Transwestern represented the buyers of the hotel annex. Blake Lloyd with CBRE represented the seller.