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The Hines Co. Planning a Hotel Conference Center with 280 rooms
and 45 Condominiums on Lake Grapevine in
Flower Mound, Texas


By Andrea Jares, Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Texas
Knight Ridder/Tribune Business News

Aug. 27, 2005 - Construction on a 16-story conference hotel on Lake Grapevine, with 280 rooms and 45 condominium residences, could start early next year, the president of the company planning the project said Friday.

For years, a hotel has been planned for the Lakeside DFW business park in Flower Mound. The Hines Co., which has built skyscrapers and corporate headquarters, aims to get the plans off the drawing board and into reality by the end of 2007, said Clayton Elliott, senior vice president of Hines' Southwest regional office.

With 28,000 square feet of ballroom and meeting space, the four-star hotel will attract regional and national conferences, Elliott said. The expansion of Dallas/Fort Worth Airport and the rise of Gaylord Texan resort in Grapevine were factors in deciding to launch the hotel project, he said.

A recovery in the hotel market and the availability of prime lakeside frontage were also likely factors, said Jim Lang, the town's economic development manager.

"That is one of the last commercial pieces of land on the lake, and they had the foresight to get it," Lang said.

The west-facing hotel will have two restaurants, a spa, pool, large windows and balconies for views of sunsets across the lake.

"We are purposely elevating the hotel some to make sure we get the views," Elliott said. The 9-acre project is expected to have a value of $51 million, generating $980,000 a year in hotel occupancy taxes and $80,000 a year in food and drink sales, according to an agreement with Flower Mound.

The Hines Co. included condominiums in the project because of the demand for living spaces with restaurant service, Elliott said. The condos will have an average sales price of $500,000.

Benchmark Hospitality International, a 25-year-old company that manages resorts and conference centers, will be the property's management firm.

Flower Mound is providing incentives in the form of seven years' worth of rebated hotel and occupancy taxes, as well as other taxes and fees, according to the agreement.

However, the project will not receive any incentives if there has not been $45 million in development after five years.

In 20 years, city leaders believe that the town will reap $25.7 million in additional property and sales taxes, as well as other fees. But under the terms of the agreement, the city will forgive $8.5 million of those costs as incentives.

Investors have responded enthusiastically to the hotel project's financing, said Donna Arp, president of Colleyville-based Realty Capital Partners, which is providing the majority of the financing. The Hines Co., the developer, is providing other financing.

Some 60 investors with Realty Capital Partners have ponied up more than half of the $13 million they will gather for the project, she said.

"It's our biggest project to date, and we have wanted to do business with them," Arp said. "They are a blue-chip company in the industry."


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Copyright (c) 2005, Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Texas

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