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FORT WORTH-A Dallas-based developer plans to demolish the landmark Green Oaks Hotel in west Fort Worth and replace it with a three-story office building. Wilcox Capital Partners, a division of Cawley Wilcox Cos., the development company that bought the 284-room hotel out of bankruptcy five years ago, is also considering building a replacement hotel on part of the site.

The Tudor-style hotel, which has hosted a long list of celebrities since it opened as the Green Oaks Inn in 1965, will face the wrecking ball in December, In January, Cawley Wilcox will begin work on a 185,000-sf speculative office building on seven of the property’s 12 acres. Completion is anticipated for late 2008 or early 09.

Cawley Wilcox bought the property from LaSalle Bank in 2002. The Chicago-based bank had foreclosed on the previous owner, Calstar of Laguna Niguel, CA, in 2000 for defaulting on its $5.6-million loan after two years of ownership. At the time LaSalle took over, the facility had a dismal 28% occupancy rate despite being the only full-service hotel on the city’s west side. Currently managed by Dallas-based Hospitality Management Corp., the hotel reportedly has raised occupancy to about 70%, even though other full-service hotels have subsequently opened in the submarket.

According to Cawley Wilcox project manager Kenneth Reese, the new office building will be certified under the LEED program, a building rating system developed by the US Green Building Council to serve as a benchmark for “green” buildings. He says the project will incorporate energy-efficient systems and environmental-safe materials. The design, though not complete, will preserve existing oak trees located on the site.

“We are eager to preserve the character of the site,” Reese tells GlobeSt.com. “The hotel has served its purpose. The new building will be a positive addition to the local landscape and business climate.”

Reese reports the developer is talking with several flagship hotel companies about the possibility of building a small hotel on the remaining five acres. The company would develop the hotel and lease it to a hotel-management company as it has done with the Green Oaks.

The guest roster for the existing hotel has included such stars as Elvis Presley, Tina Turner, Bob Hope, Red Skelton and Janet Leigh in its 42-year history. Located on the south side of Interstate 30, the property is across from Ridgmar Mall, which is anchored by Neimann Marcus, Macys, Dillards, Sears and JC Penney.

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