The clear vision for a world-class luxury hotel and conference center overlooking Grapevine Lake has recently become opaque.
In the spring of 2015, Flower Mound’s then-sitting Town Council unanimously approved plans for a 12-story luxury hotel with 220-rooms, a 32,000-square-foot conference center and a 10,000-square-foot ballroom with state-of-the-art-technology, workout facilities and an infinity pool with adjacent bar on the second level above the surrounding tree-line for unobstructed views of the lake.
Council members pointed to the benefits for Flower Mound and its residents that a top-of-the-line luxury hotel will bring with it. Being positioned only 5.5-miles from the International Terminal D at DFW Airport will enable business visitors and tourists to reach the destination within 12-minutes.
The council’s approval included an incentive package that will assist both New Era Hotels & Resorts, developers of The Pearl on the Peninsula Hotel & Conference Center, and the Town of Flower Mound.
The State of Texas Chapter 380 Agreement provides for a hotel occupancy tax (HOT) rebate of seven-percent for a period of 21-years.
On Monday, Feb. 8, the town issued the following official statement:
The Town has a 380 agreement with New Era Partners LLC and at this time, New Era has not missed any deadlines in the agreement. In speaking with the Stewart Family, the owners of the property of the proposed Pearl on the Peninsula project, they have confirmed their commitment to bringing a world class luxury hotel and conference center overlooking Grapevine Lake to fruition. The Town has the ability to terminate the 380 incentive agreement, should New Era not obtain a building permit by July 1, as outlined in the approved agreement.
That vision, however, is not being supported by the landowner, Alan Stewart, president of Sunset Legacy, or New Era Partners LLC.
“The project is continuing to move forward, but Alan [Stewart] and the New Era Hotels & Resorts partners were unable to reach agreement last fall,” said spokesman Andy Stern from Sunwest Communications for Sunset Legacy, LP. “He [Stewart] is speaking with some national-level hotel developers. There’s been no agreement as yet, but it’s down to only a few developers.”
The dissolution of the project is more than merely a business disappointment.
The New Era Hotels & Resorts Partner and President L. Scott Tarwater’s family owned the land since the 1890s where the hotel was set to be located. In a quote from last spring, Tarwater shared how special it was to bring a project to his hometown of Flower Mound, particularly on the land where his grandparents, parents lived and he grew up. His family sold the land to the Stewart Family in 1984.
“Unfortunately, we were unable to come to an agreement,” confirmed Tarwater. “We wish the Stewarts nothing but the best, but we’re focused on finishing Flower Mound’s first-ever hotel, the Courtyard by Marriott.”
The town’s 380 Incentive Agreement, however, was granted to the New Era Hotels & Resorts development group; not the Stewarts.
“I really don’t know what will happen with the agreement,” said Tarwater. “I guess it can just expire when the July 1 groundbreaking isn’t met, or the town can review it … I just don’t know. I do know, however, that everyone we’ve dealt with at the town, the leadership and the staff, has been wonderful to work with; real professionals.”
Last spring, Stewart shared his family’s special connection to the peninsula in the southern parcels of the 150-acre mixed-use development of Lakeside DFW.
“More than 30-years ago, my father realized the potential that Grapevine Lake and the new DFW International Airport held for the then small community of Flower Mound,” said Stewart. “Part of his vision included the creation and development of an international luxury hotel overlooking the lake and serving as a convenient destination for international travelers. Our family is thrilled that our father will see this dream come to life right before his ninety-fifth birthday.”
The original target groundbreaking was set for July 1, 2016, with a 12- to 14-month construction completion deadline of December 31, 2017.
Stewart’s father, Peter Paul, may not have a Pearl on the Peninsula Hotel & Conference Center as his special birthday gift.
A clear vision for the future of the development is not currently visible.