Deal for hotel at south end of downtown Fort Worth has fallen through

07/20/2014 12:00 AM

07/19/2014 12:46 PM

Just days after a consultant’s report said there’s a desperate need for more hotel rooms in downtown Fort Worth, a deal for a hotel on Lancaster Avenue, at the south end of downtown, has fallen through.

According to Will Martin, who represents the Churchill family, which owns the land at Lancaster and Main Street, the developer who had the property under contract wanted 90 more days to continue due diligence, but the two sides couldn’t come to terms on an extension.

“That’s it in a nutshell,” said Martin, principal of W. Martin and Co. in Fort Worth. The land is the former site of the Frank Kent Cadillac dealership. Kent’s great-grandson, Will Churchill, now runs Frank Kent Motor Co.

In April, a “well-established” national hotel developer was said to be close to buying the site at 100 E. Lancaster Ave. for a 140-room limited-service hotel. The hotel was to serve the near south side and Medical District.

The site is only a few blocks south of the Fort Worth Convention Center, which the City Council decided last week will be expanded again to meet demand for the ever-growing convention and meeting business coming to Cowtown. Last week, a consultant’s report called for tearing down the center’s arena and adding a 50,000-square-foot ballroom with modern meeting space. The report said the city also needs more hotels.

In the past, Martin said he has had interest from other hotel developers as well as office and multifamily developers.

“You never know in real estate,” Martin said. “Hopefully, something will happen.”

Letter “offensive”

to some in Denton

Texas Railroad Commission Chairman Barry Smitherman might think twice if he has any plans of visiting the city of Denton anytime soon.

There are more than a few citizens — but especially those who support a proposed fracking ban now on the Nov. 4 ballot — who took exception to a letter he wrote to the Denton City Council, in which the head of the body that regulates oil-and-gas activity in Texas called the proposed ban “extremely misguided” and raised geopolitical ramifications.

In the letter, sent before Tuesday’s marathon meeting at which the council voted to move the citizen referendum to the ballot, Smitherman said to enact the ban would “increase American’s dependence upon foreign oil and natural gas.”

Other countries around the world also sit atop oil and gas reserves only attainable by fracking, he said, adding that Russia (translate to Vladimir Putin) is reportedly working with environmental groups to ban hydraulic fracturing in Europe to maintain its dependence on energy imports from Moscow.

Smitherman urged council members to “determine whether funding and manpower behind this effort to ban hydraulic fracturing in Denton is coming from out of state sources or from those who would profit from the imposition of such a ban.”

Denton mothers like Maile Bush and others who spoke out in favor of the ban don’t consider themselves outside agitators working with environmental groups. “I live in Denton and I’m just a mom and I have a duty to protect my children,” she said.

Denton City Councilman Kevin Roden, who favored the ban, said he and others in town were insulted by Smitherman’s letter.

“I found his letter offensive to our citizens,” Roden said. “Here is an issue that the city has been dealing with since 2011” while not receiving any support from his agency.

He said the city at the 11th hour got nothing “but an industry hack job. It is offensive coming from a public official in his position.”

— Max Baker

Leading Edge updates

Fort Worth paint facility

Leading Edge Aviation Services said it has made several upgrades recently to its Fort Worth facility at Meacham Airport.

The upgrades include air-handling repairs, additional filter stages, new air-supply lines and a new dedicated paint-mixing room.

“As the company continues to grow, we remain committed to providing the highest quality aircraft painting services in the market,” said President Chris Harano. “Over the last year, we have made considerable improvements at numerous locations to do just that.”

The California-based firm also announced that it has opened a second aircraft-painting hangar at the airport in Spokane, Wash. The $6 million hangar has one large painting bay that can handle aircraft up to the size of a Boeing 757-300.

Leading Edge helped American Airlines work on its new livery, which debuted in January 2012. The firm painted more than 80 aircraft in 2013 for American and American Eagle with the new paint scheme. The company has also painted aircraft for United Airlines, Delta Airlines and Southwest Airlines.

— Andrea Ahles

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