The owner of the historic Sinclair Building in downtown Fort Worth is seeking approval from local, state and federal agencies to convert the 16-story art deco office building into an Autograph hotel, an upscale, boutique brand operated by the hotel giant Marriott.
The hotel is part of a broader plan to renovate three downtown buildings owned by investor groups that include managing partner and investor Farukh Aslam.
Aslam said Thursday that the Sinclair Building would be turned into a 165-room hotel, with a basement restaurant and rooftop bar. A sky bridge would connect the building to the STS Tower to its west, where a spa, banquet facility and hotel services would be located. Marriott would manage the property, he said.
The building, 512 Main St., was bought by Sinclair Holdings in December 2013. Aslam said all of the building’s tenants will relocate. Construction of the hotel could begin in the third quarter with the project completed in late 2016, he said. He declined to provide a cost, but said financing has been lined up.
In addition to the Sinclair Building, Aslam is seeking approval to restore the adjoining eight-story STS Tower, 515 Houston St., to its original appearance when it was built in 1925 for the Sanger Brothers department store. Aslam bought that building in 1998 and converted it into a telecom hotel. The street-level space has been leased by restaurants in recent years, and the current tenant, Ojos Locos, will leave, he said.
The third building involved would be the 13-story Hilton Hotel annex, 811 Commerce St., which Aslam’s investor group acquired in August. He is proposing 140 furnished corporate apartments, with some retail space on the street level.
Aslam also owns the parking lot across Fifth Street from the Sinclair Building where he plans to build a midrise hotel, he said.
Aslam said the projects need approval from the National Parks Service and the Texas Historic Commission and will be presented to the city’s Historic and Cultural Landmark Commission on Monday. On Thursday, changes to the Sinclair Building and the Hilton Hotel annex were approved by the Downtown Design Review Board.
“We are making progress,” Aslam said.
Included in those approvals was the addition of glass blocks to the sidewalk on Main Street in front of the Sinclair Building. The owner is proposing to remove portions of the red brick sidewalk installed using federal grant money in the 1980s and replacing it with frosted glass block to allow natural light into the restaurant.
Bill Booker, a Sundance Square executive who sits on the board, opposed the glass block, arguing that it would take away from the brick’s charm and uniformity of Main Street.
“I’m excited about the two buildings, but at the same time we have things we need to protect,” Booker said.
Board member Andrew Blake approved the use of glass block, saying it is “a low-risk change” that will bring a new element to the the street.
At the Hilton annex, added in the late 1960s, the owner wants to clean the exterior and at the lower levels add acrylic paneling to modernize the building’s appearance.
Sandra Baker, 817-390-7727