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Swift & Co. Building Gets Endangered Designation


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#1 djold1

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Posted 14 February 2006 - 06:57 AM

At a 2:00 PM meeting on Monday, the Historic & Cultural Landmarks Commission (HCLC) granted a company led by Richard Hand,the designation of Highly Significant Endangered to his project to renovate the historic Swift & Co. main building in the Stockyards.

At the same meeting the Commissioners, citing the need for further study and more detailed drawings, descriptions and renderings, declined to OK Certificates of Appropriateness to the majority of Hand's requests for additions and major structural changes to the Main building which dates from 1903.

The Commission did OK several requests that did not affect the Main building and which would allow continued clean up and renovation of several structures on the property. This includes removing the old sign from the main building roof and removing the old decrepit Gazebo behind the building.

Hand, a former Rangers pitcher of the 1970's, told the Commissioners that the requested changes were necessary to enable the prompt completion of of several "business plans" with which he hoped to market the building to prospective tenants. Other than vaguely mentioning a boutique hotel as one possibility, Hand declined requests from the Commission to go into details as to the type of business that might use the renovated building citing the confidentiality of the negotiations.

In the interest of keeping his project on track, the Commission voted to hold a special on-site meeting in a few weeks to give further consideration to the changes with the understanding that Hand would have full architectural documentation and details on the project by that time rather than the simple drawings and renderings that were offered at Monday's meeting.

During the meeting, a number of members of the Commission commented on the lack of detailed information presented by Hand considering the type of changes that he had requested on the Main building. Hand's presentation consisted soley of some simple non-scaled drawings, a building plat and a highly embellished rendering.

Hand stated that because of the inappropriate views to the east across Niles City Boulevard and the fact that the Stockyards attractions are on the west of the building, that it was felt that creating a new front entrance on the west instead of using the existing north facing doors would be the best approach. The Commission members apparently had little problem with this, but the methods of creating the new face were always in question during the meeting.

The requested changes that did not receive immediate approval were:

1. Construct a Porte Cochere on the west elevation across Packers Avenue. Hand is currently in negotiations with other city departments to have Packers Ave closed and included in the Swift plan. Several of the commissioners were concerned abut the lack of detailed plans as to the construction, the style and whether or not it would be physically attached to the historic Main building. Hand offered to provide full plans at the on-site meeting.

2. Alter the existing dormers on the Main building to allow egress with a balcony. Several Comissioners asked about the reasons for this major structural change in an historic roofline and asked for detailed information as to how such a major change would be made. Also, as to why "egress" was necessary. Hand promised details at the proposed future on-site meeting but said he had nothing now.

3. Construct an addition to the south elevation to match the existing structure. Hand stated that he had no construction plans for this addition, but wanted approval to contruct an addition if it would be beneficial to marketing the property.

7. Extend the existing wrap-around gallery style porch along the existing and proposed additions. No details were given as to how this might be accomplished since the east elevation of the Main building and the east elevation of the less historic south wing do not have the large roof overhangs that shelter the original porches.

Comment:

During the meeting there were several disconnects between the language used by the Commission staff in presenting the project. The most noticeable was the staff comment that the major change in the dormers was necessary to meet fire codes. This was questioned by one of the commissioners and Hand denied that this was a factor in the change.

The most disconcerting moments came when Hand apparently decided that his need for a speedy approval was so important that he told the Commissioners that if he could not get prompt approvals on all the items that the whole project was at risk and that he might have to fold. It is hard to believe that the renovation project is so fragile that playing this kind of hole card this early in the game is necessary.

Threatening to pick up all the marbles and leave is of course a common ploy by those seeking carte blanche approval or big tax breaks from public bodies. We just noticed this happen elsewhere when Justin Industries played their card and won huge taxe incentives for their moving plan.

In general it appeared that the preparation by Hand for this meeting was very inadequate and that he may have felt that because of the concern for the welfare of this old structure that the Commission would just give a quick pass through without any detailed consideration.

All the Commissioners expressed their hope to Hand that he could come up with the proper plans and documention because they were very much interested in saving the old structure and getting the Swift building back into operation in the Stockyards.

Pete Charlton

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#2 safly

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Posted 14 February 2006 - 09:59 AM

QUOTE
Hand, a former Rangers pitcher of the 1970's


Good resume.

So he should be USED to several DISAPPOINTMENTS and SETBACKS. biggrin.gif


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#3 courtnie

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Posted 14 February 2006 - 02:54 PM

At least it wont be reduced to a pile of rubble.....it seems he didnt really come to the table with his guns loaded so to speak!! rotflmao.gif

#4 John T Roberts

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Posted 14 February 2006 - 07:11 PM

Pete, thanks for posting a summary of the case. I was going to post the agenda of the H&CLC last week, but I didn't get around to it. I was also aware the Swift Office Building case was going to be heard.

#5 Funkdoobiest

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Posted 14 February 2006 - 10:28 PM

Here's the Star Telegram article on it. http://www.dfw.com/m...fw/13871667.htm

#6 John T Roberts

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Posted 15 February 2006 - 06:10 AM

Sandra Baker with the Fort Worth Star-Telegram has been doing some really great articles on preservation projects. Her reporting has been very fair and informative.

#7 mosteijn

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Posted 16 February 2006 - 09:47 PM

Sounds great! I hope this guy can pull it off. I think this building would fit well as a boutique hotel, or a restaurant again, I vaguely remember going to the Spaghetti Wharehouse when I was young(er) and I recall that I enjoyed the whole atmosphere of the old Swift building.

#8 John T Roberts

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Posted 16 February 2006 - 10:21 PM

I just saw the presentation on the replay of the HCLC on Cable Channel 7. I applaud Mr. Hand for his overall concept and proposals, but I must say that he did not come to the meeting very prepared. If he had architectural drawings of all of the items he wanted to change, the commissioners would probably have approved everything. Having an on-site meeting seems like an appropriate way to handle this case.

#9 ghughes

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Posted 17 February 2006 - 06:46 AM

How much follow up is done by the city after (or during) the modification work? Without drawings to refer to later it's pretty tough to enforce any decisions, isn't it?

#10 John T Roberts

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Posted 02 June 2006 - 04:55 AM

Two days after Richard Hand bought the building, XTO Energy purchased it from him. They plan to move their Barnett Shale offices to the building after it is restored and renovated. About 40 employees will move from downtown to this Stock Yards location. A new case will go before the H&CLC in June.

Fort Worth Star-Telegram Article:
http://www.dfw.com/m...ss/14723960.htm

#11 Nitixope

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Posted 02 June 2006 - 11:20 AM

QUOTE(John T Roberts @ Jun 2 2006, 05:55 AM) View Post

Two days after Richard Hand bought the building, XTO Energy purchased it from him. They plan to move their Barnett Shale offices to the building after it is restored and renovated. About 40 employees will move from downtown to this Stock Yards location. A new case will go before the H&CLC in June.

Fort Worth Star-Telegram Article:
http://www.dfw.com/m...ss/14723960.htm


I commend XTO for improving downtown and taking ownership and effort to improve some historic bldgs. My only concern with Swift and Co. Bldg is that the Boutique hotel that Hand originally proposed is no more and the Stockyards are obviously a high tourist area. We can assume XTO will do a good job with renovations (without going bankrupt) but it is no longer a tourist destination in the sense of a hotel or restaurant. Like someone else said earlier…at least it’s not a pile of rubble. Maybe XTO could open parts of it for tours or something.

#12 RD Milhollin

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Posted 02 June 2006 - 11:21 AM

QUOTE(John T Roberts @ Jun 2 2006, 05:55 AM) View Post

Two days after Richard Hand bought the building, XTO Energy purchased it from him. They plan to move their Barnett Shale offices to the building after it is restored and renovated. About 40 employees will move from downtown to this Stock Yards location. A new case will go before the H&CLC in June.


Go XTO!

#13 KevCoz

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Posted 02 June 2006 - 04:55 PM

Way to go XTO! Now, if we could get them interested in the T&P Warehouse. smile.gif

#14 Fort Worthology

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Posted 02 June 2006 - 05:50 PM

Wow, I didn't see this coming. This is fantastic news. You know that whatever XTO does, it will do it up right. I'm really looking forward to seeing the work they do to the old Swift building - and on the base of the Petroleum Building, which they also appear to be restoring currently.

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#15 John T Roberts

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Posted 02 June 2006 - 06:52 PM

What would all of you say, if I told you that I knew about this from the week of the purchase and I had been sitting on this information for a month? I don't like keeping secrets from the forum.

After the Landmark Tower's implosion, I knew that because of their desperate need for office space, that it wouldn't be long before something had to give. I honestly thought they might purchase another downtown office building in their HQ vicinity. For the short term, this will keep them from crawling all over each other in their current buildings, but it also doesn't address longer term growth for the company. I still look forward to some kind of announcement that they will build a new HQ building on the Landmark Tower site.

That said, I do agree with Nitixope in that they are taking a tourist destination out of the Stock Yards mix. The one plus side to this, that the area and city get a deteriorating historic structure restored. Maybe when and if XTO builds their new building, the redevelopers of the Swift Office Building will have a good foundation to work with on putting a boutique hotel or another restaurant into the space.

#16 WTx

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Posted 02 June 2006 - 08:09 PM

If they are crawling over each other now it ought to get worse quick. I was at their stock holders meeting a couple of weeks ago and Mr. Simpson said he wanted to double the value of the company within five years. Meaning they are going to be drilling much more and possibly making more acquisitions like the one this week. At the time they made this statement I thought to myself, "Wow they are going to need more office space." I tend to think they are going to have to do something in the way of a new building but thats just a guess on my part.

#17 Nitixope

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Posted 02 June 2006 - 09:42 PM

QUOTE(WTx @ Jun 2 2006, 09:09 PM) View Post

If they are crawling over each other now it ought to get worse quick. I was at their stock holders meeting a couple of weeks ago and Mr. Simpson said he wanted to double the value of the company within five years. Meaning they are going to be drilling much more and possibly making more acquisitions like the one this week. At the time they made this statement I thought to myself, "Wow they are going to need more office space." I tend to think they are going to have to do something in the way of a new building but thats just a guess on my part.


It goes without saying (but I'll say it anyways) that natural gas is booming... specifically one of their many future drill sites has at least a year's wait before any drilling takes place, if that is any indication.

Regarding their need for office space, there's probably many other buildings they could have found some available space, but the best part is they chose Swift and Co. That's a major indication of their commiment to the historically significant and to Fort Worth.

#18 Now in Denton

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Posted 03 June 2006 - 09:51 AM

QUOTE(John T Roberts @ Jun 2 2006, 05:55 AM) View Post

Two days after Richard Hand bought the building, XTO Energy purchased it from him. They plan to move their Barnett Shale offices to the building after it is restored and renovated. About 40 employees will move from downtown to this Stock Yards location. A new case will go before the H&CLC in June.

Fort Worth Star-Telegram Article:
http://www.dfw.com/m...ss/14723960.htm


If you saw NBC 5 four days ago. Business owners thier are hurting in thier pocket book's .Some say it due to people want to spend time Downtown. Whatever the cause. This will be the shot in the arm the stockyards need. More people Working thier and spending money duing Lunch and after work.

This will be a great mix of working people and tourist . Plus most in the Fort Worth forum feel as ease with XTO. I feel no area should be 100% of any one people tourist, Local foks, Workers. Mix of people is good.

#19 JBB

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Posted 03 June 2006 - 10:14 AM

QUOTE(Now in Denton @ Jun 3 2006, 10:51 AM) View Post

This will be the shot in the arm the stockyards need.


40 people working in an office in the Stockyards is not the kind of shot in the arm that the retailers need. They need the thousands of people that events like Pioneer Days brought in.


#20 Now in Denton

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Posted 03 June 2006 - 11:21 AM

QUOTE(JBB @ Jun 3 2006, 11:14 AM) View Post

QUOTE(Now in Denton @ Jun 3 2006, 10:51 AM) View Post

This will be the shot in the arm the stockyards need.


40 people working in an office in the Stockyards is not the kind of shot in the arm that the retailers need. They need the thousands of people that events like Pioneer Days brought in.


Oh Humm.......... JBB.

#21 txcaptdan

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Posted 01 August 2006 - 05:01 PM

XTO is doing a wonderful job with this project. What a fasinating building, the walls are four courses of brick thick. The old rail car was removed last week and all porch columns have been removed to be restored. All hardwood floors were pulled up bundled and sent out for refinishing. The structure inside is being taken down to rafters and joists and rebuilt to todays standards. This building has a huge attic lined in beautiful pine.
This grand lady is coming around fast. She will be pride of stockyards.

#22 texastrill

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Posted 01 August 2006 - 05:16 PM

Who owns the buildings around the Swift&Co.?They should do sumfin with them,restore,knock over or whatever.Expand the Stockyards eatsward with some residential.Theres great views of dt from there.
T E X A S T R I L L - G O C O W B O Y S

#23 AndyN

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Posted 02 August 2006 - 08:49 AM

I think a lot of that land is Holt Hickman et al. I wonder if they are reserving some of it in anticipation of legalized Casino Gambling? There should be a Stockyards stop for the Cotton Belt branch of the TRE at the far east end of the site, which would make for a nice, long promenade extension of Exchange Avenue. But, that's all speculation.
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#24 Thurman52

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Posted 24 August 2006 - 07:19 AM

Buyers Circling Wagons for Stockyards Site
By Connie Gore
(To read more on the industrial market, click here.)
FORT WORTH-The largest redevelopment opportunity in years in the Fort Worth Stockyards has made its way to the market. The 29.37-acre tract, with a turn-of-the-century meatpacking plant, is being sold lock, stock and barrel--and for the right price, the mineral rights too.

Greg Trout, president of Henry S. Miller Commercial in Dallas, and senior vice president John Brewer have fielded at least 20 "serious" inquiries and scores of telephone calls since marketing got under way two weeks ago for the Armour & Co/Bunge Edible Oil Facility at 400 E. Exchange Ave. and excess land at 600 NE 23rd St. and NE 21st St. The rail-served land lies on the eastern side of the Stockyards, a popular tourist draw with longhorn cattle drives, rodeos, boutiques, western-style shops and restaurants. The call for offers is Sept. 6.

"This is a significant movement on an old industrial site that has begged for redevelopment for a number of years," says Bob Riley, Fort Worth's development director. The slaughterhouse was razed in the early 1970s prior to the St. Louis-based Bunge North America taking over the property from Armour. Last May, Bunge vacated the 178,359-sf outdated plant for a 107,000-sf build-to-suit in Carter Industrial Park on the city's south side.

Trout tells GlobeSt.com that the seller is awaiting a copy of a recently completed phase one environmental study by locally based Carter & Burgess, but there's no indication that a second phase or remediation is needed. Bunge used the site to package and distribute edible oils like canola and soybean. Nonetheless, the building is destined to be scraped from the 17.5-acre tract.

"This will be a redevelopment," Trout emphasizes. "At least, that's what I envision." The Exchange Avenue land includes a right-of-way that leads to a vacant 9.8 acres with 23rd Street frontage. Tax records show a 2.1-acre tract fronts 21st Street.

The last property known to change hands in the district was the 29,266-sf Spaghetti Warehouse at 601 E. Exchange Ave., once the headquarters building for Armour's predecessor, Swift & Co. Local investor Richard Hand, a Texas Rangers pitcher in 1972, bought it in May and flipped it to XTO Energy, which is now returning the structure to office use. Tarrant Appraisal District has the 2.5-acre asset assessed at $1.2 million.

Trout says so few properties change hands in and around the Stockyards that comps simply aren't available. "I said 'let's just put it out there and let people make an offer on it,'" he says.

As word gets out and Sept. 6 draws nearer, interest from would-be buyers has picked up dramatically. "They're close-mouthed about what they want to use it for," Trout says. "But if somebody wants to do more of the Stockyards, you almost need this piece of property." Although it can't be confirmed, several of the city's wealthiest investors are said to be using front-men to make a run for the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

With the Barnett Shale gas reserves underlying the region, Trout says the mineral rights "aren't necessarily on the table" but certainly could be. "It would depend on the offer and the wherewithal to close the transaction," he says.

According to Trout, Bunge just wants to sell the real estate regardless of the scenario whether it's the whole shebang, piecemeal and with or without the mineral rights. What can't be disputed, he says, is it's one of the largest contiguous land sites in the historic Stockyards to come to market in years.




#25 Fort Worthology

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Posted 03 January 2007 - 03:57 PM

Hadn't checked on the progress of XTO's Swift Building restoration until yesterday, and WOW:

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What an improvement! It's looking fantastic! So good to see it getting the attention it needed. Go XTO!

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#26 cberen1

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Posted 03 January 2007 - 04:09 PM

I am really impressed with the apparent quality of the work. I shouldn't be surprised given XTO's history in the remodeling building. I give them an A+.

#27 Scott Dorn

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Posted 04 January 2007 - 10:24 PM

Wow, it's time for another visit to Fort Worth. alot has been done since I was there.

Great Job Atomic!!!

Keep them coming
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#28 AndyN

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Posted 10 July 2008 - 08:15 PM

I just returned from a tour of the Swift & Co. building, now the XTO Barnett Shale office. Excellent restoration/adaptation of a classic building. I did slide a question in about the Transport Life Building, but there was no news on that.

The coolest thing I thought was the old pictures placed in the glass panes in the old timeclock building/entrance.

Once again, this effort gives me reason to nominate XTO as corporate citizen of the year. And they didn't even need any fancy advertising to convince me!
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#29 John T Roberts

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Posted 10 July 2008 - 08:26 PM

Historic Fort Worth announced the 2008 Most Endangered List on their porch. XTO was nice enough to give the organization and the press a tour of the building and a free lunch. I really enjoyed the tour and I agree with you, Andy. They definitely should be given an award for Corporate Citizen of the Year.

#30 gdvanc

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Posted 10 July 2008 - 09:23 PM

AAARRRGGGHHH!!!

I wanted to be there, but I didn't leave the office until almost 9pm. Ugh. Depressing.

Glad it was a good tour. Hopefully I'll get a look one of these days.

#31 RD Milhollin

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Posted 29 March 2016 - 09:51 PM

The Swift Stairs on NE 23rd Street will be preserved, according to Mayor Price; they are on city property:

 

http://www.star-tele...le68908857.html

 

Also, the City Council has agreed to hire Austin-based Code Studio as consultant to work on the form-based building code for the Stockyards. "This council is hell bent on making sure that what goes in that stockyards is what is supposed to be in that stockyards; It's authentic, it fits, it matches what we all are thinking" - Dennis Shingleton

 

http://www.star-tele...le68917932.html



#32 Austin55

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Posted 29 March 2016 - 10:03 PM

 

 

Developers have also promised to incorporate some ornamental columns and walls from the old Swift plant in any new construction there, Price said.

 

 

I'm very pleased to hear this, a much better fate than just tearing them out and building over them. It will be good for future generations to see parts of what once made the meatpacking plants. 






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