|By Nicholas Sakelaris, Fort Worth
Star-TelegramMcClatchy-Tribune Regional News
Sept. 05, 2012--SOUTHLAKE -- A 175-room hotel with an indoor race track and convention center got unanimous approval from the City Council Tuesday night.
Southlake's second hotel will be built at the northwest corner of Kimball Avenue and Texas 114.
The race track will feature electric cars capable of speeds up to 40 mph on two tracks, one of which could have an elevated track two stories high.
Companies can use the indoor race track for team building exercises during the week and locals can use the facility during the week, said Jeff Medici, of C.H.O.C. Development, the developer of the project.
The race-themed convention center and race track is tentatively called Turn 4, referring to the final stretch of a race track. No operator has been named for the hotel, yet, Medici said.
There will be a real race car on display and a garage where teams can practice timed pit stops.
Medici hopes to capitalize on the proximity to Texas Motor Speedway 12 miles away. The goal is to open the 161,000-square-foot facility by spring 2014, in time for Texas Motor Speedway's first race of the season, Medici said.
Other features include an outdoor swimming pool, a full-service restaurant and bar and a ballroom that could host meetings, weddings and other events. The project will also include a standalone restaurant on the westbound Texas 114 service road.
The massive project also drew concerns from property owners who back up to the site.
John Reynal said he's concerned about live music and late-night pool parties spilling over to the rental property he owns on Cherry Lane. He asked what the punishment would be.
"I don't know what the violation is. And I don't know what the consequences are," Reynal said.
He's also worried about the success of the hotel and who would operate it, especially because of the two-story race track.
"This thing has to work. It has to work," he said. "And if it doesn't, it's kind of gimmicky deal."
The council put a limit on outdoor speakers and live entertainment at midnight.
Ken Baker, Southlake planning director, said noise violations could be as high as $2,000 per offense.
Mayor John Terrell said the council can't dictate which hotel brand runs the facility.
Some council members pushed for larger rooms because they say executive travelers factor that in when choosing a hotel.
"The size of the room is pretty relevant in my mind," Councilman Al Zito said.
Medici countered that the city's ordinance requires only a 300-square-foot minimum so they are asking "over and above."
Terrell said it's more important to have a quantity of rooms rather than bigger ones.
After a lengthy debate, the council settled on a minimum 325-square foot room size, or about 12-square feet less than the majority of rooms at the Southlake Hilton.
The hotel proposes suites and even bigger executive suites, Medici said.
(c)2012 the Fort Worth Star-Telegram
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