Dallas: JMJ Development Clears Height and Liquor Hurdles for Turtle Creek Hotel/Residence Tower
Feature Illustration (above): View of the 2999 Turtle Creek hotel/condo tower, with its three-tier elevation, as seen from Gillespie Street. Courtesy: JMJ Development, FAB Studio.
by Adolfo Pesquera
Dallas (Dallas County) — The City of Dallas got a little less dry this month with the recommendation of the Plan Commission to amend a liquor control overlay on a tract on Turtle Creek Boulevard to benefit a hotel/residence tower project.
As far back as 12 years ago, JMJ Development founder Timothy Barton told commissioners he had been eyeing land in the 2900 block of Turtle Creek that is adjacent to the historic King Mansion, the 1920’s home of cotton and oil magnate Sheppard King. Today, the Mansion is a mixed-use complex with a hotel, restaurant uses–Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek–and a separate residential component.
Barton is planning a complex with much the same uses, but on a larger scale.
The Plan Commission reviewed his project March 7. The staff description stated, “applicant proposes to redevelop the site with a two-tier platform and high-rise tower in the northeast sector of the site … with a special hotel project, which is comprised of a mixture of uses that would be anchored by a 180-room hotel, 85-unit (multifamily) use, and some ground-story restaurant and health spa uses.”
The property occupies the north portion of the 2900 block of Turtle Creek, but controls a strip of land mid-block that reaches to Gillespie Street. Courtesy: JMJ Development.
The staff recommendation was to allow some type of relaxation on the liquor control zoning, and approve a request to expand the floor area ratio (FAR). The increase is square footage (FAR) was recommended in part because Barton agreed to put all parking underground. But staff opposed a request to increase building height from the 299-foot ceiling for the district to 325 feet.
The development being primarily a hotel use with barely a third of the units being for multifamily, and “a small percent of units as mixed-income housing,” was not a balanced exchange, staff said.
The Plan Commission, however, voted unanimously to allow Barton to build to 325 feet, as well as his other requests. Barton had met with area stakeholders as far back as October and it impressed the commissioners that he was able to get the consent of the Mansion, the Turtle Uptown Neighborhood Association and the Oak Lawn Committee.
In describing the project, Barton said there are several heights since the building is arranged in tiers. Beginning at 50 feet height, it goes to 130 feet and in the center jumps to 325 feet. It steps down again on the other side to 50 feet.
A cross-section view of the tower illustrates how it steps up. Courtesy: JMJ Development.
According to the site plan, the hotel levels are from 3 to 10 and the condominium units are from floors 11 to 25. Hotel guests would arrive by vehicle on Dickason Avenue. Residents would have a separate entry on Dickason and a secondary entry on Gillespie.
The existing front lawn facing Turtle Creek Boulevard will not change, but it will be enhanced with new sidewalks and lighting. Also oriented toward Turtle Creek will be a restaurant. The complex will be generous with green space. Allowed lot coverage is 75 percent but 2999 Turtle Creek will be limited to 60 percent, and 20 percent of the rooftops will be green.
2999 Turtle Creek
23 story high-rise hotel and condo
5-star luxury hotel
240,000 square feet of luxury branded residences
Maximum floor plate per story is 28,285 square feet
Northeast view of the hotel. From across Turtle Creek Blvd. and Dickason Ave. Courtesy: JMJ Development.
Removal of the liquor control zoning was especially important to Barton. Trey Lentz, an attorney who lives in the neighborhood, spoke in favor of it, noting that it’s Barton’s ambition to bring a Five-Star hotel to Dallas and that’s impossible unless it’s able to serve drinks.
Song Chia, senior designer with FAB Studio was in attendance as project architect.
JMJ Development is the company planning to build Villita Tower in downtown San Antonio, a 24-story hotel/residence tower at Villita Street and Jack White Way.
Sidewalk view of the sunken motor court approach to the hotel lobby entrance. Courtesy: JMJ Development.
Adolfo Pesquera (Reporter/Editor) is a veteran news journalist. He has worked for Hearst Corp., American Lawyer Media, News Corp and Freedom Communications. His work has been published in newspapers and magazines across the USA. He is a journalism graduate of UT-RGV. He writes, edits and creates digital pages for VBX.