Fort Worth City Council will consider luxury Camp Bowie hotel

A high-end hotel promises to remake a vacant stretch of Camp Bowie on the edge of Fort Worth’s Cultural District, if the city council moves forward with the plan.

The council will also consider chef Tim Love’s plan for shipping containers at Gemelle.

Plans for Bowie House Hotel call for a four-story, 120-room hotel at 3710-3736 Camp Bowie Blvd. The site, to the west of the the CVS in North Hi Mount, was previously home to a church and The Ginger Man bar. Both have been bulldozed. Renderings show a long building that mirrors the brick of Camp Bowie in color. The rear features a rooftop infinity pool on the second floor that cascades down the side of the building to a garden courtyard.

The Fort Worth City Council will consider necessary zoning changes Tuesday, and the zoning commission recommended approval last week. Opposition from nearby residents focuses on increased traffic and worries parking will spill out into the neighborhood.

Jo Ellard owns the property as well as a single-family home nearby. The Dallas resident told the zoning commission she is heavily involved with the American Cutting Horse and has spent a third of the year in Fort Worth since the mid-1980s. Though she lives in Dallas, she said Fort Worth has her heart and she’s kept a keen eye on the city’s growth.

“As Fort Worth grows and expands and evolves over the years, there is a need for a product like this, a luxury hotel,” she said.

Ellard told the Star-Telegram she would discuss plans for the hotel in greater detail after the council vote Tuesday, saying she didn’t want to jinx the project before it was approved. This is her first commercial development.

Plans call for a restaurant, bar and meeting space in the roughly 35,600-square-foot building. Parking will be valet-only in an underground garage that has about 180 spaces. The entrance is at a median crossing on Camp Bowie, basically where the Ginger Man’s driveway was, to limit the impact on traffic.

The development is not just a hotel.

Eleven townhomes will buffer the hotel from the North Hi Mount neighborhood to the west and north, with four facing Dorothy Lane and seven facing Clarke Avenue. Each will have a two-car garage and should be no higher than the typical residential home.

Wade Chappell, president of the Camp Bowie District, a nonprofit that promotes business along the boulevard, voiced support for the project. The district held several meetings with the developer, who Wade said appeared “to go to great lengths to be a good neighbor.”

“This is a tasteful project that brings the kind of clients we want to Camp Bowie,” he said.

A city staff report indicated the North Hi-Mount neighborhood’s board approved a letter in support of the project, though not everyone was in favor.

Miranda Benton told the zoning commission she believed the developer had not communicated fully with nearby residents.

She worried the project would hamper traffic along Camp Bowie as well as Dorothy Lane, which is used frequently by traffic headed to North Hi Mount Elementary. Though the city’s stormwater management department approved the project, which is required to account for additional rainwater runoff, Benton said she worried the buildings would increase street flooding on Camp Bowie and into nearby Arlington Heights.

Benton said she thought there was more opposition to the project than what had been indicated by the neighborhood association and developer.

“I have personally received hundreds of calls, texts, private messages and emails from people who have expressed their anger and frustration about the process,” she said.

Tim Love Hotel

The City Council will also consider chef Tim Love’s plan to place nine shipping container cabins at Gemelle, his Italian restaurant off White Settlement Road by the West Fork of the Trinity River.

Love presented the plan to the zoning commission last month and paid extra to have the process expedited so the council would hear the plan the next week, but the commission told him to go back and meet with more neighborhoods, including the River District.

Zoning commissioners approved the plan, saying it was a unique concept that showed Fort Worth’s entrepreneurial spirit. But speakers during the virtual meeting Sept. 9 worried Love had not properly accounted for parking and wondered why he would place the cabins in a known flood way for the Trinity River.

Love said in August he was working with an engineer to assess whether they would be at risk. An alternative concept would raise the containers about 4 feet. The are assembled off site and trucked in, Love said, so there would be minimal construction.

The 160-square-foot cabins fit a queen-size bed, custom tile walk-in shower and refrigerator. Each unit has a full glass door and a rooftop deck that offers views of the river. They’ll be styled similar to the Gemelle building, according to Love’s presentation. Guests can rent kayaks and bikes to use along the river.

The cabins will rent for about $200 a night.

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Luke Ranker covers the intersection of people and government focused on Fort Worth and Tarrant County. He came to Texas from the plains of Kansas, where he wrote about a lot, including government, crime and courts in Topeka. He survived a single winter in Pennsylvania as a breaking news reporter. He can be reached at 817-390-7747 or [email protected]
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