What’s next for Roanoke? A luxury hotel and conference center

An artist rendering of the eight-story Peabody Hotel proposed for downtown Roanoke.
An artist rendering of the eight-story Peabody Hotel proposed for downtown Roanoke.

An upscale eight-story hotel with meeting space is planned along Oak Street in Roanoke, aiming to draw business groups to the small city north of Fort Worth known for its cluster of restaurants.

A 300-room Peabody Hotel would be built south of the existing restaurant row, near where a new City Hall is under construction. Plans released Thursday call for 300 rooms and suites, a restaurant, two bars, a high-end spa and fitness center and a large rooftop swimming pool. There also would be more than 30,000 square feet of meeting and event space.

In a statement, Douglas V. Browne, president of Peabody Hotels & Resorts, said the hotel project “is still very much in the planning and financing stages.” But the developer, Bluff City Group, said it hopes to open the hotel within the next two years.

The hotel would be located along an extension of Oak Street south of the downtown strip, where Babe’s Chicken is located, as part of a new mixed-use project being developed by the Integrity Group of Justin. The area will include the new City Hall, residential units, retail space and offices, said Scott Campbell, Roanoke’s city manager.

“Our vision has always been to have a hotel conference center project down there,” Campbell said. “Different groups have reached out to us. When we realized that this group was connected with Peabody, we were very interested. … It’s a game changer for us.”

Peabody Hotels & Resorts is based in Memphis, where it operates the historic landmark Peabody Hotel. The Peabody, which dates to 1869, was restored and reopened in 1981. The property is known for its ducks, which swim in a fountain in the hotel lobby and waddle through the hotel daily. A fountain with ducks is also planned for the Roanoke property.

There have been two other Peabody Hotels — in Orlando and Little Rock — but each has been sold. According to its website, Peabody has more hotel projects planned in Colorado, Mississippi and Southern California.

Campbell said the city is negotiating a tax incentives package for the hotel with the developer, which is expected to be finalized in the next 60 days. He said the project also was aided by state legislation recently passed in Austin that will allow the developer to recoup state sales and hotel/motel taxes to help pay for the development.

In the meantime, other construction is already underway on the south end of Oak. Campbell said five more restaurants should open within the next year: Craft and Vine; Fosters Sushi Seafood Bar & Grill; Chop Shop; Stacks Biscuit House; and Wise Guys Pizza.

Work started about two months ago on the new City Hall, a $17 million structure designed with the look of a turn-of-the-century courthouse. Campbell said it will take 18 months to build.

Infrastructure work has started on a residential project that will have more than 300 apartments and 36 luxury brownstone townhomes to be priced from $300,000 to more than $600,000, said John Devin, a principal with Integrity Group.

Devin said construction on the residential units should begin by August, with the first units ready early next year. Next on the agenda will be securing tenants for 110,000 square feet of specialty retail and restaurant sites that will be part of the project.

The expansion in Roanoke, which has about 8,500 residents, is part of a wave of development sweeping across Texas 114 from Southlake all the way west towards Texas Motor Speedway. Just east of Roanoke, at Texas 170, construction is expected to begin soon on a campus for Charles Schwab Corp. that will employ 1,200 workers.

“This is going to not just add to what we have,” Campbell said of the Peabody Hotel project, “but bring it to the next level.”

Steve Kaskovich: 817-390-7773, @stevekasko

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