BOWIE HOUSE HOTEL UPDATE

March 3, 2021 · Filed Under Events and News · Comment 

If you’ve been wondering about the status of the upcoming Bowie House Hotel at the corner of Camp Bowie Blvd. and Dorothy Lane, here’s a schedule and a formal request by developer Jo Ellard to expand the work days and hours that were negotiated when this case was heard by the Fort Worth Zoning Commission and City Council in 2020.

The hotel has been approved to be four stories tall with 120 rooms, plus a restaurant, bar, outdoor pool, and 100 seat special event room. All parking will be underground with 200 parking spaces. Eight town homes will be built behind the hotel–no rentals of less than 30 days will be allowed.

Dunaway & Associates was hired to assist Ms. Ellard through the initial stages of the project. Austin Commercial has been hired to be the project contractor. Bennett and Benner Partners are the architects of record for the town houses. No hotel chain affiliation has been announced yet, but will be forthcoming.

Construction is expected to take between 15-19 months. Groundbreaking is scheduled for late May 2021, contingent on city permitting.

Here is a projected schedule:

MARCH/APRIL 2021
To prevent public access, fencing will be installed along the perimeters of the project on Camp Bowie Blvd. and Dorothy Lane. The fencing will likely be chain link with windscreens. Sight lines to enter Camp Bowie Blvd. from Dorothy Lane will always remain open and clear.

APRIL 2021
In ground conduit installation and work on new and relocated utilities begins.

Applications for a temporary conditional use permit will be filed at the City for the vacant lot at the northwest corner of Camp Bowie Blvd. and Dorothy Lane. The developer has leased this land to park 4-6 trailers there for construction offices and provide some construction parking. No parking by workers will be allowed here, or on any of the neighborhood streets. Off site parking for workers is being negotiated with University of North Texas Health Science Center and City of Fort Worth. The large tree on the southeast corner of the lot will be protected.

MAY 2021
Groundbreaking is projected for the end of May. Excavation of the underground parking garage and hotel structure comes first and is expected to take seven months. This will be the loudest, most disruptive part of the entire project. The developer says they will follow the City’s noise restrictions.

A large crane (as shown on Slide 5 in the power point here:  Bowie House Hotel – Good Neighbor Presentation) will be in the middle of the construction site. Slide 6 in the power point shows the area the crane will be swinging over.

TRAFFIC
Slide 7 of the power point shows the lane closure plan for Camp Bowie. The two eastbound lanes of the boulevard will be open at all times, but westbound lanes will sometimes be reduced to a single lane in front of the hotel site. A flagman will be stationed to assist with traffic.

All construction vehicles will enter and exit on Camp Bowie. There will be no construction traffic on Dorothy Lane or in the neighborhood.

Measures will be taken to control dust and keep the streets clear of mud.

CHANGES TO DAYS & HOURS OF CONSTRUCTION
The mutually agreed upon work hours are Monday-Friday 8:00am-7:00pm, no weekends or holidays. This was a critical part of the original negotiations with the developer and neighbors. The developer is now requesting to add Saturday as a regularly scheduled work day with Sundays as needed, if weather or unexpected construction delays are encountered. Further, the developer wants to change the work hours to 7:00am-8:00pm Monday-Friday and 9:00am-8:00pm Saturday and Sunday.

This request to change the work days and hours has yet to be resolved, so we want to hear your questions and comments. Please send them to president@arlingtonheightsna.com.

BUS STOP
The existing bus stop at Dorothy Lane and Camp Bowie will be permanently removed because there is already a bus stop by CVS.

UTILITIES
Utilities will be moved to the northwest corner of the property and hidden from view with landscaping.

To accommodate the relocation of the utilities, three of the town homes planned for behind the hotel have been eliminated, reducing the total to eight town homes.

The footprint of the hotel has not changed.

AHNA has been waiting for almost a month to send this eblast out because we asked the developer and representatives to check it for accuracy. We did not want to send out inaccurate information to you. Apologies for the long delay.

Questions and comments? Send them to president@arlingtonheightsna.com.

Below is the statement we received on March 2, 2021 from Bowie House Hotel developer Jo Ellard:

March 1, 2021

Dear Neighborhood Leaders,

Thank you all for meeting with members of the BOWIE HOUSE TEAM. I know you all have been wondering what is going on as we all had hoped to break ground first quarter of 2021.

As explained in the recent 2 ZOOM meetings (Feb 6th and Feb 24th), the engineering team of DUNAWAY ASSOCIATES has been working extremely hard the last several months to remedy the difficulties currently being experienced with developing the utilities that will be servicing the Bowie House Hotel and Townhome development. Without being lengthy in describing, just let me say, it has been a tremendous challenge to the project, has delayed the design phase, and caused the design team to make alterations. ONE POSITIVE UPDATE on the neighborhood side of things, it has caused the Bowie House Project to reduce the density from 11 townhomes down to 8 townhomes bordering the west and north side of the hotel.

On February 6th, 2021, Jo Ellard of Bowie Place Properties hosted a small ZOOM meeting for the boards of North Hi Mount Neighborhood Association and Arlington Heights Neighborhood Association to give an update on the progress of the Bowie House Project and to introduce the neighborhood leaders to the three key gentleman who will be leading the General Contracting of Bowie House Hotel. From Austin Commercial are Kevin Yu (Project Manager), Jeff Wright (Project Supervisor), and Chuck Cleveland, (Senior VP Business Development).

Project Manager Kevin Yu opened the meeting by saying they haven’t been able to make as much progress as they’d been hoping for due to challenges in re-locating utilities. A short power point presentation was shown Bowie House Hotel – Good Neighbor Presentation that introduced Austin Commercial, contractors who have been working in Fort Worth for 100 years, with a client list that includes the Omni hotel, TCU and Dickies Arena. Austin Commercial was the contractor for the recently completed AC Hotel in downtown Fort Worth.

Construction of the new Camp Bowie hotel and condominiums is estimated to take 15-19 months once ground is broken. Groundbreaking is scheduled for late May, depending on when city permits are approved.

Here is the timeline that was presented:

February/March 2021
Fencing will be installed along the perimeters of the project to prevent public access. The fencing will likely be chain link with windscreens. The sight lines to enter Camp Bowie Blvd. from Dorothy Lane will be open and clear. RECENT UPDATE: This could occur in April. A privacy fence will be installed for the neighbors on the north property line that have indicated they would desire more privacy from the construction. Some neighbors have declined. This may or may not be permanent fencing.

April 2021
Work on new and relocated utilities will begin. Permits to the city for conditional use of the vacant lot on the west corner of Camp Bowie/Dorothy Lane will be applied for.

May 2021
The developer has leased the empty lot on the northwest corner of Dorothy Lane and Camp Bowie Blvd. to stage activities for the hotel construction. They are applying for a temporary permit to install four to six trailers there for construction offices and some construction parking. Offsite parking for workers is being negotiated with University of North Texas Health Science Center and City of Fort Worth. There will be no parking allowed on ANY neighborhood street. RECENT UPDATE: Kevin Yu is planning to place signs along neighborhood streets that declare “no construction parking” Also there will be a Bowie House Representative on site daily to monitor the enforcement of this requirement. The large tree on the southeast corner of the lot will be protected.

Duration for the excavation and concrete structure work for the underground parking and hotel will be for seven months. It will be loud and the most disruptive part of the construction process. They assured us they will follow the restrictions of the City of Fort Worth’s noise ordinance. The team would very much like to have this phase of the project completed before fall/winter holidays 2021.

A large tower crane, as shown on slide 5 in the power point Bowie House Hotel – Good Neighbor Presentation, will be in the middle of the construction site. Slide 6 shows the area the crane will be swinging over. ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: THE SWING OF THE CRANE IS TO RELOCATE THE BOOM. AT NO TIME WILL THE CRANE SWING OVER STREETS OR RESIDENCES WITH A LOAD. THIS IS THE CRANE AND THE PROCESS USED IN DOWNTOWN FORT WORTH TO BUILD THE RECENTLY COMPLETED AC HOTEL.

Slide 7 of the power point shows the lane closure plan for Camp Bowie. The two eastbound lanes of the boulevard will be open at all times, but the westbound lanes will be reduced to a single lane in front of the hotel site. A flagman will be stationed to assist with traffic entering and exiting the jobsite. ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: This is the process Austin Commercial used in downtown Fort Worth in the construction of the AC Hotel.

All construction vehicles will enter and exit on Camp Bowie. There will be no construction traffic on Dorothy Lane or in the neighborhood. There will be underground water and sanitary sewer work on Dorothy lane, to be coordinated with the city.

There are plans to remove the existing bus stop at Dorothy Lane and Camp Bowie since there is already a bus stop by CVS. UPDATE: This has been confirmed.

Utilities will be routed up the west easement of the hotel property and moved to the northwest corner of the property. They will be hidden from view with landscaping.

The footprint of the hotel has not changed.

Measures will be taken to control dust and keep the streets clear of any mud that might result.

WORK HOURS—HENCE THE ISSUE AT HAND:
Early in the discussions about the development of the hotel, there were a lot of discussion about work hours of the project. It was generally agreed upon (not on the PD as per the city’s instruction) between the developer and the No Hi Mount neighborhood board that the work hours of the project would be Monday to Friday 8am-7pm, no Saturdays and no Sundays or holidays.

AUSTIN COMMERCIAL has been specific in its reasoning as to why construction should adhere to Fort Worth City Code regarding commercial construction that is within 300 feet of residential. The city code allows construction: Monday through Friday 7:00 am-8:00pm; Saturdays and Sundays 9:00 am-8:00pm.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION:  The concern over the workdays is something I wanted to get to the boards as soon as I heard about it which was about a week prior to calling our zoom meeting on February 6th. When it was brought up at the weekly Bowie House Team meeting, I explained that the work hours were a big concern to the neighborhood. The team discussed the usual and customary work schedule that the contractors and all their sub-contractors adhere to on all their jobs which is the written code of the city. Their reasoning is very logical.

I have collaborated with Kevin Yu to factually explain the discussion around the work hours.

1. All phases of construction are completed faster. Neighbors are impacted a shorter length of time by construction noise and lane closure on Camp Bowie.

2. The overall cost of the project is less, which allows the developers to use budget dollars on a higher quality exterior architectural design as well as luxury interior features and professionally designed landscaping resulting in an exceptional development that enhances the neighborhood and surrounding properties.

3. To expedite the completion of the hotel and minimize duration of construction, the project is set up on 6-day work weeks. With the caliber of sub-contractors we are using, the craftsmen rarely work 5-day weeks and typically add overtime to accommodate an expedited completion. Most contractors and sub-contractors will refuse to accept jobs that are limited to a 5-day week–they simply will just not work for you.

4. Bowie House is hiring the most qualified- best talented- most experienced contractors in the business. These contractors and sub-contractors are in high demand and when they price a job, it is with the intent to deliver a quality product at fair competitive prices.

5. 7-day work weeks are NOT desirable nor typical under normal work circumstances but may be necessary in certain instances. Examples of abnormal work circumstances; A. At the recent construction of the new AC hotel in downtown Fort Worth, a load of granite was held up for weeks in Brazil due to COVID. When it did arrive, the crews worked overtime (7 day weeks for 2 weeks) to make up for the lost time. B. Excessive weather conditions that limit work on the job. Sundays are typically make up days to stay on schedule when days are lost due to weather. In the majority of cases where a rain day needs to be made up, crews will work within the city ordinance hours on weekdays, such as an extra 2 hours a day to make up this time, in lieu of working Sundays. Working Sundays results in a loss of productivity when craftsmen are working 7 days straight without a day off. However, if excessive weather conditions are prolonged or situations such as the granite issue mentioned above, it is valuable to have the option to work Sundays. One example of an instance where Sunday work will be required is when we will erect and dismantle the tower crane which is typically a 2.5-3-day process on Friday to Sunday.

Bowie Townhouses:
Bennett Benner Partners are the Architects of Record for the Townhouse Development. Just last week the decision was made to reduce the number of townhomes to 8 from the 11-original planned. The reason is in the difficulties associated with the utilities for the project. The reduction in townhomes decreases the density while increasing the green space and planned landscaping of the overall project. The townhomes will most likely be a combination of two bedroom and three-bedroom design, with home office and 2 car garages. Now that the footprint has been resolved, the next step is working through interior layout. Groundbreaking for the townhomes is expected 3rd quarter 2021 once the subterranean garage is finished.

I would like to thank you for inviting me to join in your West Side Alliance scheduled meeting and discussing the status of the Bowie House Hotel and Townhome Development. I hope our next update includes pictures of the groundbreaking.

Best Regards,
Jo Ellard

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