JW Marriott opening in Dallas, lone new hotel in the city

With other hotel developers halting new projects since the pandemic, the Sam Moon Group moves forward with $125 million high-rise hotel

Trammell Crow Center and JW Marriott Dallas rendering (Google Maps, Sam Moon Group)
Trammell Crow Center and JW Marriott Dallas rendering (Google Maps, Sam Moon Group)

After a multi-year slump in the city’s lodging industry, a local hotel developer is adding a posh new JW Marriott to the Dallas skyline.

The Sam Moon Group’s more than $125 million project broke ground last year and is set to open next year, according to the Dallas Morning News. The lot of the future Marriott sits on Ross Avenue in the city center district.

“It’s been rough going for hospitality the last couple of years,” said Daniel Moon, vice president and general counsel of hotel developer Sam Moon Group.

“We were recovering well from the pandemic at the end of last year, then the delta [variant] hit,” Moon said, followed by the omicron variant. “This week we are now back to where there are no more cancellations in our hotels in Plano and Frisco.”

Last year’s hotel revenues were still about 20 percent less than before the pandemic in Dallas. And the luxury hotel industry, which relies on business and convention travelers, has been even slower to recover. While most area hotel developers hit the pause button on new projects during the pandemic, the Moons have moved forward with their downtown skyscraper.

The Plano-based developer already has two hotels in its North Texas portfolio: the Legacy West Renaissance Hotel in Plano and the Hyatt Regency hotel in Frisco.

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As with many area projects, skyrocketing construction prices have become roadblocks for developers and the hotel industry is no exception.

“We closed on our construction loan on May 29th, 2020,” Moon said. “Any new full-service hotel construction loan wasn’t going to get approved post-COVID on the same terms.”

Roadblocks and hesitancy are why the firm isn’t expecting a lot of new downtown hotel competition when the JW Marriott opens.

“We feel like we should have a good three- to five-year runway without a lot of new product coming in,” Moon said.

The 15-story hotel was designed by Dallas architect HKS with DPR Construction as the general contractor. The group started construction in January of 2021 and plans to open the first quarter of 2023, according to Moon.

The building is atop a new 10-story parking garage at Ross and Harwood Street which was built in 2019 to serve the landmark Trammell Crow Center skyscraper across the street.

[Dallas Morning News] – Maddy Sperling