Northeast Tarrant

Grapevine keeps on track for TEX Rail project with City Council demolition vote

Grapevine Mayor William D. Tate was all smiles when he announced a groundbreaking for the planned TEX Rail station in the city’s downtown area, surrounding by school children on a field trip.
Grapevine Mayor William D. Tate was all smiles when he announced a groundbreaking for the planned TEX Rail station in the city’s downtown area, surrounding by school children on a field trip. Star-Telegram

The City Council’s support for the TEX Rail project moved full steam ahead at its Feb. 21 meeting with the unanimous approval of a demolition budget to make room for its planned station and hotel.

The City Council voted 7-0 not to exceed $203,262 under the terms of the development services agreement with Coury Hospitality for the demolition of the existing building and structures at the site of the TEX Rail station and hotel complex at 815 South Main St.

Last summer, ground was broken on TEX Rail, a 27-mile commuter rail project that will extend from downtown Fort Worth, through Grapevine, and into Dallas/Fort Worth Airport Terminal B.

The rail project is scheduled to be completed by the end of 2018. Proponents say Northeast Tarrant County will be greatly served by the project, where mass transit advocates have long held that public transportation is sorely lacking.

In addition to the downtown hotel, plans are underway for other transit-oriented development including retail space, an observation deck, an outdoor plaza and a parking garage.

Coury Hospitality was selected as the developer of the hotel, which will feature more than 100 rooms. City Manager Bruno Rumbelow said the Oklahoma-based company was chosen after a competitive selection process.

Coury Hospitality CEO and founder Paul Coury said Saturday that they are looking forward to working in Grapevine, a city he said “is intriguing and has incredible charm for a city of its size.”

The CEO said the hotel will feature up to 125 rooms. He added that most of the company’s hotels are under the Autograph Collection by Marriott, which is “their pride and joy,” and that the Grapevine site will showcase a similar lifestyle brand.

Coury said Grapevine’s hotel will be located on 4 1/2 acres of property the city bought at Main Street and Dallas Road to build the rail station.

“We are excited and we are going to do some neat designs,” Coury said. “Our goal is quality.”

At the Feb. 21 City Council meeting, Public Works Director Stan Laster provided an update on the demolition project, which is slated to begin soon.

He later told the Star-Telegram that the existing vacant manufacturing building “will be demolished along with the loading dock area in the southeast corner of the building.”

“The parking lot on the west side of the building will remain for the time being and will be demolished at a later time as the site construction begins,” Laster said.

City Councilman Chris Coy praised taking the next step in the rail station and mixed-use project.

“This is exciting,” Coy said. “I think you know we put a ton of planning and staff and a lot of other groups have spent a lot of time for what is going to go there so this will be a great start to see some tangible results here.”

Councilwoman Darlene Freed asked for a time line for the demolition to begin and was told about 30 days.

Freed also asked about potential inconvenience of traffic-related hindrances, and was told by Laster they might see “some minor closing of streets.”

In August 2015, there was an official kickoff of the $1.034 billion TEX Rail project, which is more than a decade in the making. The commuter trains will begin running in late 2018 with routes as frequent as every half-hour during peak workday periods — with about 44 trains per day in all — and about every hour during nonpeak periods.

About 9,000 passengers per day are expected to ride the trains in the service’s first year, and that number could expand to 14,000 riders per day by 2035, Fort Worth Transportation Authority officials say.

The kickoff included ceremoniously riding in a train pulled by a 1953 Grapevine Vintage Railroad diesel engine, with leaders from Fort Worth, Grapevine and North Richland Hills celebrating the beginning of a commuter rail project they say will change their communities.

“Where the rail goes, the communities flourish,” Grapevine Mayor William D. Tate said during a groundbreaking ceremony for the TEX Rail project outside his city’s historical Main Street Depot. “Where it passes them by, they wither and die.”

This report includes material from Star-Telegram archives.

Marty Sabota: 817-390-7367, @martysabota