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Commercial Real Estate

Michele Wheeler: The True Meaning of Texas Hospitality

The Dallas-Fort Worth region continues to pace the country in hotel development with more than 20,000 rooms and 173 projects in various stages of development.
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Courtesy Jackson-Shaw

Texans proudly proclaim, “everything is bigger in Texas.” This extends to big hair, hats, oil, ranches, wide-open spaces, blue skies, personalities, trucks, landmarks, football – and the rate of hotel development. According to hotel development database provider Lodging Econometrics’ Global Construction Pipeline Trend Report, Dallas leads the United States regarding the number of hotel projects underway.

Dallas, which has led all U.S. cities in hotel development for four quarters, has nearly 20,707 hotel rooms across 173 properties in various planning and development stages. Rounding out the top five cities are Atlanta, Los Angeles, New York City, and Phoenix.

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Michele Wheeler, Jackson-Shaw

Also, soaring group and international travel demand and the return of domestic tourism and leisure travel over the summer resulted in higher room rates and occupancies – not seen since before the pandemic.

“Encouraged by 2022’s upward trend in hotel performance, owners, management groups, developers, and investors are moving forward with development plans as evidenced by increasing counts at every stage of construction,” according to Lodging Econometrics analysts.

Jackson-Shaw’s AC Hotel Fort Worth Downtown opened in September 2020, just months into the pandemic. One block from Sundance Square and adjacent to the historic art-deco Kress Building, the AC Hotel Fort Worth Downtown was built on .23 acres (approximately 10,000 square feet) – a sliver of land that previously was a parking lot. Many thought the property size was too constrained for construction.

The upscale, high-tech, 16-story, 165,722-square-foot hotel features 252 guest rooms, a private penthouse suite, and more than 4,200 square feet of flexible meeting space. The property has far exceeded our expectations.

When much of the country shut down because of COVID-19, Fort Worth leaders kept their doors open to travelers. The city was among the first in the state to reopen its convention center, and Tarrant County was home to some Texas-sized sporting events. The World Series was played at Globe Life Field in the fall, the Rose Bowl moved from California to AT&T Stadium in January 2021, and the National Finals Rodeo moved for one year from Las Vegas to Arlington, bringing thousands to the region.

2022 marks Jackson-Shaw’s 50th year in business. Since 1972, we’ve developed 21 hotels containing more than 5,000 rooms, operated over 100 hotels, currently own and operate four, and have our eyes on sites throughout Texas and the rest of the country.

During my travels, I’m often asked about our state’s significant size, strengths, and successes. I explain that something else looms large in Texas — and it can’t be measured. That, of course, is our Texas pride, perseverance, and tenacity.

Go big or go home? Now, that’s a silly question. The Lone Star State only has one setting, and that’s big.


Michele Wheeler is President and Chief Executive Officer for Jackson-Shaw.

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Michele Wheeler

Michele Wheeler

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