Best Real Estate Deals of 2021: Hospitality

Kimpton Harper Hotel – Fort Worth

This firm turned a historic Fort Worth landmark into a boutique hotel.

It’s no easy feat to turn a historic office building into an upscale, boutique hotel, but that’s just what Development Services Group did. The Kimpton Harper Hotel is an adaptive reuse project of the historic Farmers and Mechanics Bank building in downtown Fort Worth, which opened last year. Reuse projects involving historic buildings are never simple, but the project came together and gave the old structure a new life.

Development Services Group specializes in adaptive reuse of existing buildings, typically that have historical significance. The Memphis-based firm goes all over the country because of its niche, typically targeting projects to transform old buildings into class A apartments or four-star hotel products.

The firm acquired the Farmers and Mechanics Bank building in 2018. The building was originally constructed in the 1920s as the headquarters for Farmers and Mechanics Bank, and at the time it was the tallest building in Fort Worth. XTO Energy eventually bought the building and upgraded it.

It took Development Services Group 10 months to design what would eventually become the Kimpton Harper Hotel and 19 months of construction. “The hardest part is that we are basically taking a building down, gutting a building, with the exception that we leave what are deemed to be the significant historic features of that building,” said Gary Prosterman, president and CEO of Development Services Group.

The firm works with state and national officials to determine exactly what those significant historical features are. For this project, it was the entire facade. Most of the historic aspects in the interior were on the ground floor.

Prosterman said these types of projects are always complicated, and sometimes they come with surprises. Older buildings can come with environmental hazards like asbestos and lead paint, and sometimes the structural layout isn’t what’s shown on existing documents. The firm has to address whatever it finds, whether that be environmental or structural issues.

There’s room to run for future projects of this type, Prosterman said. For starters, adaptive reuse tends to be cheaper than ground up development, and with construction costs skyrocketing to unheard of rates, adaptive reuse starts to make a whole lot more sense, he said.

From the Dallas Business Journal:

Key players: Development Services Group; Davidson Hospitality Group; Kimpton Hotel & Restaurant Group

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