Monday, April 21, 2008

Dallas' Turtle Creek area to get St. Regis hotel

Dallas will get another luxury hotel and condo tower – a $200 million St. Regis Hotel & Residences in the Turtle Creek area, the developer said Friday.

Los Angeles-based Foch Investments/Development plans a 150-room hotel and 70 to 80 condos at Cedar Springs Road and Carlisle Street between the Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek and the Rosewood Crescent Hotel, said principal David Thurman.

It's the site of an unbuilt Sofitel hotel, one of several local hotel plans that languished after the 9/11 attacks. Foch bought the land in 2005.

The question is whether the St. Regis will be 15 stories or up to 24 stories tall. Foch has asked the city to increase the entire size of the building and its height to 299 feet from 196 feet, Mr. Thurman said.

On April 3, the City Plan Commission denied the rezoning request. Some nearby property owners opposed the hotel's extended height, said David Cossum, the city's assistant director of planning.

In May, Foch will seek approval for its request from the Dallas City Council.

No matter what, "we're building the hotel. We have signed agreements and our financing is in place," Mr. Thurman said. It will be the eighth U.S. hotel of the exclusive St. Regis brand, he said.

Rooms will cost upward of $375 a night, making the St. Regis one of the priciest hotels in the city. Amenities will include a spa and a signature restaurant like Adour, the Alain Ducasse restaurant at the St. Regis New York.

Foch hopes to start construction by the end of the year or in early 2009, he said. He wants the hotel to open in late 2010 or early 2011.

Dallas is seeing a surge of luxury lodgings. The 129-room Joule hotel will open this summer, and a 150-room Mandarin Oriental is planned for Victory Park. The 170-room Stoneleigh Hotel reopened last month, the 218-room Ritz-Carlton Dallas opened last summer, and the 252-room W Dallas Victory opened in 2006.

Some observers are anxious about adding so many rooms so fast. Dallas hotel occupancy has fallen to 61 percent from 65 percent in the past year, according to PKF Consulting.

"If you talk to hoteliers in the market, they'll tell you that they're struggling with what they have and they don't need competition," said Jeremy Stone, the Dallas hotel consultant for PKF. But the St. Regis could give Dallas more exposure, he said.

Foch principal Richard Doherty doesn't think Dallas needs several luxury hotels to become a luxury market. "We're not oversupplied in Dallas yet," he said. "I think you have a good critical mass building. That will put Dallas on the map, and it will bring a lot more convention business back to Dallas."