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Another hotel planned in downtown Fort Worth near historic church

Irving-based Whitestone Hospitality is planning a 10-story hotel on a parking lot behind Mount Gilead Baptist Church in downtown Fort Worth.
Irving-based Whitestone Hospitality is planning a 10-story hotel on a parking lot behind Mount Gilead Baptist Church in downtown Fort Worth. Star-Telegram

Irving-based Whitestone Hospitality wants to build a 162-room Hilton Garden Inn next to the historic Mount Gilead Baptist Church on the east edge of downtown Fort Worth.

Architects for the project sought permission Thursday from the Downtown Design Review Board to move forward with the 10-story project. But the board decided that more work needs to be done on the east facade of the structure to help it blend better with the architecture of the neighboring church, which dates to 1912.

The church has applied to the city to be designated as a historic structure.

The hotel would include some retail space on the ground floor. The second through fourth floors will be used for parking, with the rooms on the fifth through 10th floors. Among amenities, the hotel is planned to have an outdoor pool and spa, fitness center, golf simulator and restaurant.

A construction timeline was not presented. Whitestone Hospitality, under the name Fort Worth Metro Partners, bought the lot in 2013 from the former owners of the Sinclair Building, Fort Worth accountants Richard and Allyson Baumeister and Dallas real estate broker Ken Jaffe. The site was once the location of Dorsey Hospital.

Members of the review board indicated they did not like the planned use of a simulated wood material that would run the height of the building as a design feature, saying it wouldn’t balance or complement the church or downtown fabric.

The lot, now being used by the Fort Worth Police Department for parking, is between Fifth and Sixth streets and on Jones Street. The site is on one of four major gateways in and out of downtown.

According to its website, Whitestone Hospitality has been involved in about a dozen hotel projects in the Metroplex and Houston, including an Aloft project in Arlington’s entertainment district.

The project is one of several hotels being built downtown. A 210-room Hampton Inn and Suites is being built at 1005 Commerce St., and the former Park Central Hotel is being redeveloped into a 114-room Fairfield Inn and Suites. Plans are also underway to convert the historic Sinclair Building at 512 Main St. into a 165-room Marriott Autograph hotel.

Until recently, Mount Gilead Baptist Church was under contract to be sold. Church leaders decided to back away from the sale of the historic African-American church.

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