|By Sandra Baker, Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Texas|
Knight Ridder/Tribune Business News
Apr. 22, 2004 - FORT WORTH -- Crescent Real Estate Equities plans to build a 21-story Ritz-Carlton Hotel and luxury condominium project next to its flagship Crescent Court development in Dallas' Uptown market, the Fort Worth-based company announced Wednesday.
To be called the Residences at the Ritz-Carlton, the project -- to include 70 condos -- has been planned for many years as part of the Crescent development, said Denny Alberts, Crescent's president.
The project is expected to cost "in excess of $150 million," Alberts said. "This will be absolutely the top of the market. It's a fresh addition to the marketplace."
The hotel will mark Ritz-Carlton's return to the Texas market. It pulled out of a Houston property in 1997, a company spokeswoman said.
Vivian Deuschl, vice president of public relations for the hotel company based in Chevy Chase, Md., said market indicators are showing a good recovery in Dallas' hotel market, particularly in the business travel segment, leading Ritz-Carlton to agree to the project.
For several years, Ritz-Carlton has targeted the Dallas market, where the company has relationships with several corporations, including American Airlines, Deuschl said.
"This is where our customers want us to be," Deuschl said. "All the stars are aligned."
Only within the past few years, however, has Ritz-Carlton been involved in projects that include residential components. The Dallas property will be about its seventh, Deuschl said.
The new building's residents will have access to all hotel amenities, she said.
Bruce Walker, with Source Strategies, a hotel consulting firm in San Antonio, said that based on room revenues at the Crescent and nearby luxury hotels, the numbers suggest that Dallas can support another luxury hotel.
"It's financially feasible," Walker said. "We're talking the cream of the market. There's a lot of room to make that successful."
The 215-room Ritz-Carlton and condominium building will be constructed adjacent to the Crescent, on a 3.4-acre tract closer to McKinney Avenue and Pearl Street.
The condominiums will range in size from 1,800 square feet to 6,700 square feet and cost $800,000 to $6 million, Alberts said.
The Crescent, a 1.1 million-square-foot mixed-used hotel, office and retail development, is in Dallas' trendy Turtle Creek area, off Maple Avenue and Cedar Springs Road.
The new project will take up about two-thirds of the block, with the remaining land set aside for additional office space, Alberts said.
"We see this as an extension of the Crescent project," Alberts said.
New York architect Robert Stern has designed the building's exterior in a "regency style," resembling New York's Upper East Side in the 1920s, he said.
Drawings are being completed and construction could begin in spring 2005, when enough of the residences are spoken for, Alberts said. A marketing center is being set up in the Crescent, and reservations will soon be accepted, he said.
"What we're seeing here is really fantastic interest in the project," he said.
Crescent said it hopes to bring in a joint-venture partner on the project.
Crescent's only other relationship with Ritz-Carlton was with the Ritz-Carlton Palm Beach Resort in Florida, which it sold late last year to a California investment group.
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(c) 2004, Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Texas. Distributed by Knight Ridder/Tribune Business News. CEI, MAR,