Dallas Stars owner will transform historic Fort Worth building into hotel

October 15,2019


See full CultureMap article by Teresa Gubbins here.

One of downtown Fort Worth’s most iconic buildings will become a signature hotel that preserves its historic charm.

The W.T. Waggoner Building, located at 810 Houston St., is set to become a new Sandman Signature Hotel; Sandman Signature is owned by Canada-based Northland Properties, headed by Dallas Stars' owner Tom Gaglardi. It will be the second hotel of its kind in the United States; the first is in Plano, which Northland opened in 2018.

This project will add another full-service hotel in downtown Fort Worth, in support of the city's Economic Development Strategic Plan, which is designed to buff up downtown Fort Worth into a premier mixed-use business district.

The 20-story W.T. Waggoner Building was built in 1920, and was one of the tallest buildings in the area at that time. Architecturally, it is known for its ornate entrance lobby, as well as its vaulted banking lobby and elevator hall.

The building is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and was most recently used as office space by XTO Energy.

The new hotel will boast a minimum of 240 rooms and 1,500 square feet of meeting space.

As part of this effort, Northland has requested assistance with up to $8 million in costs for public improvements associated with the project, such as landscaping, utilities, and historical preservation and restoration.

These public improvements will be reimbursed by the city’s Lancaster Tax Incremental Financing District (TIF), contingent upon performance requirements that must be met by the hotel. The TIF reimbursement will not take place until the hotel has been open for two years.

"We're thrilled that Northland Properties is committed to preserving such an iconic Fort Worth building," says Robert Sturns, director of economic development for the City of Fort Worth, in a statement. "This project celebrates Fort Worth's past while still supporting the current and future growth of downtown, and we look forward to the Sandman Signature Hotel being part of our growing community."

When XTO sold the building in August 2018, it was with an eye towards making sure that downtown Fort Worth would be served well, says Ryan Matthews, VP at JLL, which helped broker the sale.

"In addition to its iconic status as one of downtown Fort Worth’s most recognizable and historic buildings, the WT Waggoner Building’s centralized location and the potential for future development on the remainder of the block make this a terrific investment," Matthews says. "XTO has been careful and mindful in identifying a partner who will ensure the integrity of these assets for the betterment of our city."

The sale also included the adjacent surface parking lot, one of the only remaining undeveloped lots in downtown Fort Worth.

"The historical relevance of the WT Waggoner Building makes this the perfect hotel asset for us," said Tom Gaglardi, President and CEO of Northland Properties, who also owns the Moxie's Bar & Grill concept.