There’s a showdown going on in Flower Mound.
Instead of celebrating the near-completion of its first hotel, there is concern it will be forced to sit empty for months.
That could jeopardize some advanced registrations.
The hotel project along Flower Mound’s River Walk was supposed to include a parking garage to be used for other attractions.
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Not only is the garage not finished, the developer has not broken ground on it yet.
New Era Partners is set to open the hotel in mid-September and says people are already booking holiday parties and weddings.
However, the town of Flower Mound says it is ready to take a tough stance and potentially keep the upscale 5,000 square foot hotel closed until the developer follows through on the agreement.
A handful of workers braved the high temperatures on the construction site on Saturday.
“They’re probably about 85 percent complete,” said town manager Jimmy Stathatos. “It looks awesome. They really like they say ‘Flower-Mounded it up.’
The Courtyard By Marriott will be the first hotel in Flower Mound.
A sign near the future entrance reads ‘parking garage,’ with an arrow.
But in reality it is just an empty lot next to the hotel.
“Personally, I’m frustrated and very disappointed,” said Stathatos.
Stathatos says a 300-spot parking garage was part of the deal with New Era.
The number of parking spots has fluctuated over the years from around 500 to 300 spots.
Stathatos says the town leadership has repeatedly asked New Era to build the parking garage.
But after years of asking, there is still no garage.
The town is ready to say: No garage? No hotel.
“The hotel is not going to open,” said Stathatos. “It’s not going to open and that’s unfortunate because it’s an incredible addition to the town.”
“The garage will be built. It is underway,” said Daryn Eudaly, CEO of New Era Partners.
The well-known North Texas developer says several issues are to blame for the delays including delays with acquiring financing deals, a labor shortage and about a 40 percent increase in construction costs.
“We are building the garage,” said Eudaly. “We are behind. That is our fault, our issue. Is has to do with financing and being a smaller company. If I could’ve written a check for it 9 months ago and not been here I would have. But I have solved the problem and ask for compromise to open the garage and the hotel timely.”
Eudaly also points to other projects in the Central Business District being built ‘out of order’ to what was agreed to years ago.
“As the rest of the amenities come on in the River Walk, we are hopeful those will be done in the next year,” said Eudaly. “Obviously the delay in those has caused a delay in our financing.”
“I’m disappointed,” said former Flower Mound councilman Paul Stone.
Stone was a council member when the town approved the River Walk Central Business District and he now lives nearby.
“You get the feeling that the developer is saying ‘well, we’ll wait til the last minute and they’ll give in’ I don’t think the town’s going to give in,” said Stone.
“[New Era has] done great things in the community but I think they underestimated the town’s commitment to holding them accountable for this amenity,” said Stathatos.
“The council and the mayor are wonderful people that we’ve had a seven year relationship with and we look forward to resolving things and bringing the first hotel to Flower Mound,” said Eudaly.
Eudaly says he’s got everything lined up and is waiting on the last permits and expects to break ground on the parking garage in the coming days and hopes to finish the garage by the end of the year.
The town of Flower Mound is also contributing $1 million of the roughly $9 million it will cost to build the parking garage.
Stathos says the town might consider allowing the hotel to open at some point if the developer provides some kind of financial assurance when it comes to the parking garage.