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Buildings Designed to be Expanded Vertically


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#1 John T Roberts

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Posted 31 December 2016 - 04:09 PM

Since the Hilton Hotel Annex has started construction, it made me think about all of the buildings built in the city that were designed with the ability to have more floors added on top at a later date.  Over the course of time, some of these buildings eventually had the upper floors built and they are still standing.  Others did the expansion, but the buildings were later demolished.  Another set of buildings never were expanded vertically and they were eventually demolished without the additions ever happening.  The last group are the buildings that are still standing, yet the planned floors to be added on top were never built.  Below is a list of such structures in the city.  I know that I have missed some, so as I remember them, see photographs of them, or come across the information, I will add it to the list.  Also, if some of you know about these buildings, please add them to the list.

 

Biltmore Garage/Hilton Hotel Annex – 815 Commerce – built at 4 stories in 1928; designed for more floors; expanded to 13 stories and upper floors built as hotel in 1968.

 

The Cassidy – 407 Throckmorton – 2 level underground parking; designed for 22 story residential; built 6 stories of retail/office/residential penthouse in 2014.

 

Old Civil Courts Building – built at 5 stories in 1958; designed for 10 stories; demolished in 2013 at 5 stories

 

Dunn's "Mansion" Garage/500 Commerce - built at 3 stories in 1924; designed for 6; completed top 3 floors in 1935.  Partial 7th floor added in 1990.

 

Equitable Savings Association – 811 Lamar – built at 4 stories; designed for 14; demolished in 2002 at 4 stories.

 

Fort Worth Press – 501 Jones – built 1 story designed for 2.  Expanded to 2 stories.

 

Fort Worth Public Library – 3rd & Lamar – built 2 stories underground; designed to be expanded above grade; 2 floors added on top in 1978.

 

Fort Worth Star-Telegram Building – 400 W. 7th St. – built 4 stories designed to handle more floors – Today is still 4 stories, but expanded multiple times horizontally.

 

John Peter Smith Hospital Main Entrance Building - built at 2 stories; designed to handle more floors, possibly 12 total; building is currently 2 stories.

 

Lone Star Gas – 908 Monroe – built at 4 stories in 1929; designed for 7; completed at 7 stories in 1957.

 

Leonard’s Department Store – West side of 200 Block of Houston St. - built 3 stories in 1930; designed for more floors; demolished at 3 stories in 1979.

 

Miller’s Mutual Insurance – 900 Monroe St. – built at 2 stories; designed for 4; completed at 4 stories in 1946 and is still standing.

 

Monnig's Department Store - 500 Houston St. - Monnig's took over the block of three story buildings one by one.  These buildings were built in the early 1900's and were not designed to have more floors added on top.  By the 1950's, the store needed two more floors.  They were added by reinforcing the foundation of the buildings and retrofitting the existing structure.  The two floors were added on top of all of the buildings and they were demolished at 5 stories in 1991.

 

Mutual Savings and Loan – 815 Throckmorton St. – built at 6 stories; designed for 16; demolished in 1998 at 6 stories.

 

Red Cross – 2nd & Taylor – built at 2 stories; designed to handle more floors; demolished at 2 stories.

 

Sanger-Harris Hulen Mall – built 2 stories; designed for 3; currently 2 stories but expanded with a one story addition on the east in 1990.  Third floor exterior walls are already in place.  The building appears to be 3 stories from the exterior.

 

Sanger Lofts – 410 Houston – built 5; designed for 8; currently 6 stories

 

Stripling’s Houston Street Building – SE corner 2nd & Houston – built 3 in 1910; designed for 7; 1918 completed at 7 stories; demolished at 7 stories in 1979

 

Southwestern Bell Telephone/AT&T Building – 1926 Building at 11th & Throckmorton – built at 3 stories; designed for 8; in 1929, 3 stories were added; in 1965, two more floors were added bringing the building to full height of 8 floors.  In 1949, an addition to Southwestern Bell was built in the center of the block, immediately to the north of the 1926 building.  It was built at 4 floors and designed for 12.  In 1965, 4 more floors were added on top, and in 1971, another 4 stories were added.  The building currently exists at 12 stories.  In 1958, a 9 story building expanded the complex to Houston Street.  It was designed to eventually be 16 stories.  In 1965 2 more floors were added on top, and finally in 1971, the building was expanded to its full height of 16 stories with a five story addition. 

 

Southwestern Bell Telephone/Texas A&M Law School – 1515 Commerce – built 2; designed for 16; currently 2 stories.

 

St. Joseph Hospital – 1401 S. Main – 1959 Addition – built at 5; designed for 12; completed at 12 stories in 1965 and demolished in 2012.

 

Mrs. Dan Waggoner Bldg. - NW Corner of Houston and 6th - built at 4 stories, designed for 9, completed at 9 stories and demolished at that height in the 1970s.

 

Western National Bank/Houston Place Lofts - 910 Houston - built at 6 stories in 1906; designed for 8; top 2 floors added in 1918.  A partial 9th floor was added at some later date.

 

Woolworth Building – 501 Houston – built 3; designed for 10; currently the building is 3 stories.

 

I am not including the old Continental National Bank in this list because it was a special circumstance with the halting of construction of the building during the Korean War, partially completing it, then resuming construction with a new taller design and digital clock.  If you want more information on its history, you can check out the building page on the main site.


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#2 JBB

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Posted 31 December 2016 - 06:29 PM

Interesting info.  Was this a common or widespread practice at any particular time? 

 

Anyone ever seen photos of the AT&T Building under construction?  Yeah, it's an ugly structure, but I've always found the patchwork of expansions a little interesting.



#3 John T Roberts

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Posted 31 December 2016 - 06:59 PM

I don't think that it was done in any particular time period, other than the modern era of architecture.  As you can see by the dates of the buildings, it was done all the way from the 1920's until the 1970's. 

 

There are a few photographs of the buildings and some of the construction at the Jack White Collection of Historic Fort Worth Photographs.  Unfortunately, they are not indexed and you will have to search for them.  Also, the UTA Library has a few that are not part of Jack White's work.



#4 Austin55

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Posted 01 January 2017 - 03:41 PM

John- I remember having a lengthy discussion with you and Peoplearestrange on this subject at lunch one time. It is interesting. The point you brought up about columns being visible on satellite view of the A&M building was interesting. 



#5 JBB

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Posted 01 January 2017 - 04:16 PM

Wow.   I've looked at aerial photos of downtown often and never noticed that.  They're clearly visible.



#6 John T Roberts

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Posted 01 January 2017 - 04:44 PM

This is basic structures and forces here, but when steel buildings are built, the columns are placed in sections.  Where they are spliced is at a location slightly above the beam level of a floor.  The actual finish floor of any one level is several inches above the beam. (Joist seats, metal deck, and the concrete slab add those extra inches.)  The splicing point is still higher than the floor level.  It is done at the location on the column where the forces are the least.  If a building is designed to be expanded upward, then the columns have to extend up to the point of the splice, which would be above the roof level of a building.  That's why you can see from aerial photographs the buildings that have the capacity for more floors to be added on top.  The column grids extend through. 

 

I found a photo on the UTA Library's site that shows the AT&T 11th & Throckmorton building taken in the late 1940's with the 6 story façade on it.  It matched the lower three floors.  It shows the 1949 building at four stories.  Beyond that, the photograph shows the 1905 "Lamar" Exchange building at 5 stories.  (Originally constructed at 3 stories, and another two floors added on top in 1914.)  It was demolished around 1970 to build the current 17 story windowless expansion on that part of the block. 



#7 PeopleAreStrange

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Posted 01 January 2017 - 10:40 PM

On the A&M building, I notice that all of the columns are on the edges of the building.

 

If more floors were added to the top, would all of the upper floors be supported solely by columns on the side? Seems like there should be columns in the middle somewhere.


- Dylan


#8 John T Roberts

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Posted 01 January 2017 - 10:51 PM

Look closely.  The column grid extends very slightly through the roof.  The columns on the exterior were extended further.  This was probably done to support the precast concrete panels at the parapet.



#9 John T Roberts

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Posted 12 February 2017 - 10:45 PM

I found another building, but it is not in Fort Worth.  I found this by looking at some news articles that were a few days old.  A photograph from the Arlington Fire Department showed the smoke rising from the partially demolished buildings.  I happened to notice that on one of the anchors that was partially demolished that the columns extended through the roof.  It was the old JCPenney store.  I looked at the aerials on Google Maps, and sure enough, you could see the column grid of the building.  I'm guessing that it was designed to have a third floor added.  I don't recall that information from when it opened.



#10 John T Roberts

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Posted 16 March 2017 - 09:32 PM

I added Monnig's Department Store in downtown to the list.  However, this is another special circumstance where the store took over several turn-of-the-century buildings on the block that were never designed to be taller than three stories.  In the 1950's, they retrofitted the foundation and the above grade structure to handle two additional floors.  Then they added those two stories.






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