Feature Photo (above): The surface parking lot next to the American Red Cross offices on Harry Hines were sold for commercial development. Whitestone Hospitality is planning a six-story hotel on the back of the lot. Image: Google Streets.
by Eileen Pace
Dallas (Dallas County) — The City Plan Commission granted approval for a zoning change needed by Whitestone Hospitality to building a hotel in the Southwestern Medical Center District to the proposed scale of six stories.
D.K. Patel, Whitestone’s president and chief development officer, submitted the zoning application through Lovefield Hospitality LP, the special purpose entity created for the project. As the applicant, Patel asked the Plan Commission to change the Industrial Research land status to Mixed Use and to provide a Special Use Permit to increase the permitted Floor Area Ratio (FAR) from 0.75 to 1.6, thus allowing a 76,000-square-foot structure.
The Plan Commission approved both requests without objection at its Aug. 15 regular session.
The project scope includes a 141 guest room boutique hotel with retail, restaurant and office uses at the ground floor of a six-story building that will be located to the rear (flag-lot style) of a commercial lot that will have separate retail businesses facing the 4800 block of Harry Hines Boulevard.
There are already plans for construction of a gasoline service station and two drive-thru restaurants fronting Harry Hines. Commissioners were assured that within the overall development, a private driveway will provide hotel guests access to and from Harry Hines.
The land was formerly part of a tract of more than 6.8 acres owned by the American Red Cross. The Red Cross downsized its facilities and completed a 20,000-square-foot renovation in June. That project freed up about half the original lot for commercial development.
Whitestone Hospitality acquired a 1.668-acre portion in the northwest quadrant, adjacent to a DART rail right-of-way.
Maxwell Fisher, a land use consultant with Masterplan and representative for Whitestone, said the application was deferred after an earlier Plan Commission meeting to work out parking and landscaping issues with the Southwestern Medical Center District. Fish said–and Robert Prejean of the medical district was present to confirm–that the district was now in support of the project.
The project requires 141 parking spaces and a loading zone, but impervious cover is limited to 80%.
It was a medical district priority that Whitestone’s site plan and landscape plan comply with the district’s streetscape and master plan design goals. The applicable goals here were for employees and visitors to have easy access to shopping and leisure activities, quality lodging and a walkable environment.