Friday, March 27, 2015

Dream Hotel in Uptown moves closer to reality

Plans for an upscale boutique hotel in Uptown are moving forward now that developers have incorporated millions of dollars in suggestions from neighbors and an area residents’ group.
Construction is expected to begin next month on the 128-room Dream Hotel at McKinney Avenue near Bowen Street in Uptown, an investor told The Dallas Morning News Thursday.
The official announcement is expected next week.
Construction of a Dallas Dream hotel originally was expected to begin in January of 2014, with an estimated opening date of April 2015.
The project team spent the additional time adjusting the hotel plans after seeking input from neighboring condo owners and from the Oak Lawn Committee, said investor Abteen Vaziri.
The committee reviews and monitors new development throughout the greater Oak Lawn area, including Uptown.
Vaziri said that the zoning process, completed in late January, also took longer than anticipated.
Responding to concerns about noise and traffic, hotel plans were redrawn to put more of the hotel parking garage underground and to change the design of the garage to further cut down on noise.
The project developer is a newly formed group called Dallas Uptown Hospitality LLC.

The developer also agreed to limit exterior construction and delivery times to 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on weekdays. Deliveries on Saturdays will end at 5 p.m., and there will be no deliveries on Sunday. Also deliveries will take place in an enclosed area, rather than an exterior loading dock.
All told, those and other changes boosted the cost of the project from under $40 million to “just a little bit north of $60 million,” Vaziri said.
Concerns about cars
He said developers are pleased with the changes and the support they have received now from the committee and neighbors.
“We wanted to make sure that we included them in the design and also in the zoning” process, he said, adding that the give and take took almost a year. “We took everyone’s suggestions into consideration when we came up with the final design … We made some concessions.
“We were very cognizant of the neighbors,” he said. “They’re very happy.”
Frank Stich, a longtime Oak Lawn resident and former member of the area’s executive committee, said that neighbors are “very excited” about the project.
“We liked the idea of the project,” he said, but there were some concerns, especially related to cars.
By moving the line for valet parking off the street and into an interior courtyard, and making other auto- and design-related changes, the developer was able to win over more than 95 percent of the nearby residents, Stich said.
“They were great people to work with,” he said. “We think it’s going to be a fantastic project once it’s done.”
Going underground
To address some concerns about cars and parking, the five-story garage design was amended to move three floors below ground with two stories above. Previously only one story was below ground.
“It’s a little more expensive,” Vaziri said, but noted, “it makes the building overall look better.”
The jump in cost also lengthened the search for investors, he said.
The hotel, which probably will have room rates of about $270 a night, will be managed by Hampshire Hotels, which owns the Dream Hotel brand.
Dallas Uptown Hospitality consists of Montfort Capital Management LLC, and other investors. The owners hope to capitalize on the boost in business and leisure traffic coming into North Texas thanks to events at AT&T Stadium. They also expect more demand due to the increase in international flights coming through Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport.
The hotel is expected to include four food and beverage outlets, an outdoor pool and Day Club on the third floor on the south side of the building, along with a rooftop nightclub. Estimated construction time is about two years.
Karen Robinson-Jacobs, The Dallas Morning News