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Raymond Management Acquires Ft Worth, Texas Tract; Plans Two Hotels on Site,
 a 135-room Homewood Suites and a 120-room Hilton Garden Inn
By Sandra Baker, Fort Worth Star-Telegram, TexasMcClatchy-Tribune Regional News

Jan. 15, 2008 - FORT WORTH -- Two Hilton-brand hotels are planned for site of the city's abandoned armory at the northeast corner of Forest Park Boulevard and West Rosedale Street, the property's new owners said Monday.

The hotels will be a four-story, 135-room Homewood Suites and a four-story, 120-room Hilton Garden Inn, said Barry Perkel, director of real estate for Raymond Management Co., a Wisconsin hotel company that recently acquired the 9.9-acre tract from Trademark Property Co. in Fort Worth.

Construction should begin in the second quarter, after some environmental remediation work is completed and site plans already approved by the city are amended, Perkel said.

In addition to the hotels, Raymond Management plans 60,000 square feet of office space and 17,500 square feet of space for shops and restaurants on the site.

"We're going to actively get the right tenant mix that will serve the neighborhood and the hotels," Perkel said. "This is a real opportunity to do something that's a nice addition to the neighborhood."

The Berkeley and Mistletoe Heights neighborhood associations have had input into development plans, which have been talked about since 1999 when Fort Worth South Inc., a nonprofit development agency, reached a deal with the city to buy the land. The city finally sold the land to Fort Worth South in April 2006, which then flipped the property to Trademark.

Trademark planned a $35 million urban pedestrian center called Midtown Village. Those plans also included a hotel, offices, shops and restaurants, but also some residences.

Paul Paine, president of Fort Worth South, said his organization will remain involved to ensure that the development is completed as intended. However, Raymond Management has an excellent reputation and track record, he said.

"We're going to continue playing an active role in development oversight," Paine said. "They understand our desire for the development of that corner. I was thankful for Trademark's willingness to find someone who has a commitment to development with a long-range vision."

Raymond Management owns and operates about 20 hotels and has investment interests in about 20 more, primarily Hilton brands. This is its first Texas project.


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