Sam Moon Group extends its reach from retail to luxury hotels
Plano retail family that started out selling fashion accessories 35 years ago is joining the big leagues of commercial real estate with its JW Marriott Hotel tower on Ross Avenue.
If you think Sam Moon Group is just a fashion retailer, you’re behind the times.
The Plano-based company hasn’t opened a new store in more than a year.
Instead, the Moon family has been ramping up its commercial real estate operations.
Its newest project announced on Thursday will give the Moons a towering presence in downtown Dallas.
The developers who built the almost $100 million Legacy West Renaissance Hotel in Plano are about to build an even larger hotel in Dallas. The 283-room JW Marriott hotel will be constructed at 2000 Ross Avenue across the street from the Trammell Crow Center office skyscraper. Show Full Story
The more than $125 million high-rise will be the first JW Marriott Hotel in the Dallas area.
The 15-story luxury hotel will be built on top of a new 10-story parking garage at Ross and Harwood Street. It’s one of the few high-end hotels to be built from the ground up in the Central Business District in decades.
Dallas architect HKS designed the tower, which is scheduled to open in 2022.
“The location we feel like couldn’t be better,” said Daniel Moon, vice president and general counsel of Sam Moon Group. “We are catty-corner from the Dallas Museum of Art, within walking distance of the Winspear Opera House and the Perot Museum.
“All of the businesses are around us,” Moon said. “For downtown, this is the best location.”
This will be the fourth hotel project for the Moon Group, which started its business in 1984 in northwest Dallas selling women’s fashion accessories out of a retail outlet.
Originally Sam Moon Trading Co., the firm was founded by Korean immigrant David Moon, who got his start in U.S. business as a salesman.
Moon was running a wholesale trading firm when he opened his first Sam Moon store on Harry Hines Boulevard in the early 1990s. His sons joined him in growing the business.
The family expanded its retail empire to eight locations around the state before deciding to shift focus into commercial real estate.
In 2018, Moon Group opened its eighth retail store in San Antonio.
“We knew we should take a pause on expanding our retail business and see what is happening with retail,” Moon said. “Now everyone calls it the Amazon effect.
“We had a lot of experience developing commercial real estate,” he said. “We did four of the retail centers that housed our retail business.”
The Moon Group’s first high-profile project was the 15-story, 304-room Renaissance Hotel in Plano. The two-year-old hotel is part of the $3 billion Legacy West mixed development.
“This year we’re going to hit year seven or eight of what we had pro forma-ed for the hotel performance,” said Moon. “Our timing couldn’t have been more perfect.”
Moon Group is building a 17-story, 303-room Hyatt Regency hotel at the Stonebriar Centre shopping mall in Frisco. The Hyatt will open next April.
“The city of Frisco called us and said they’d love to talk to us about hotels,” Moon said. “We worked with Frisco and (mall owner) General Growth and got the deal done.”
The developers are also building a 130-room Hyatt Place Hotel in the AllianceTexas development north of Fort Worth.
And in suburban Houston, Moon Group is building a 148-room Hyatt House hotel that’s part of its 75-acre Metropark Square development.
“We already have retail and an AMC theater there,” said Shane Williams, vice president of construction for Moon Group. “We are opening a Dave & Buster’s entertainment center in December.
“And in early 2020, we are going to do a 324-unit apartment project.”
But it’s the downtown Dallas hotel that will put the Moon Group into the big league of local developers. The tower is part of a more than $140 million redevelopment of the 35-year-old Trammell Crow Center office tower.
The five-star hotel will include a grand ballroom and meeting space, a spa, a restaurant and a fitness center.
“On the ground floor on Harwood Street, we will have a check-in area with a small lobby,” company president Sam Moon said. “You’ll take an elevator up to the 11th floor, where you will have the main lobby. “
The high-rise will have a rooftop swimming pool. “There’s a pool bar upstairs with a full grill,” he said.
The family says it plans to keep its hotels for years to come.
“If you are in the best locations, the real estate should last for generations,” Daniel Moon said. “You can have a solid income stream for decades to come.
“We’ve developed every one of our projects that way.”