QUOTE(Atomic Glee @ Feb 22 2006, 05:13 PM)
Imploding the Medical Arts Building to put up Burnett Plaza is, in my opinion, easily the worst mistake ever made with respect to the Fort Worth skyline.
Personally, I think imploding all of the buildings that we did in the 1970's to put up their replacements was collectively one of the worst mistakes ever made for downtown. I will leave my comment there, because I think that could be the generation of another interesting thread and possibly a poll.
I do remember that the Medical Arts Building was occupied shortly before it was demolished. Those demolitions are the hardest for me to deal with when an occupied historic skyscraper is purchased, the tenants are evicted, and then it is demolished.
Here is what I remember about the Burnett Plaza project. It was the early 1970's and the occupied Medical Arts Building was up for sale and the First National Bank of Fort Worth was already interested in expanding their bank. All of these details are kind of sketchy, because I either in middle school or just starting high school when this all started. I think they purchased the property in 1972. In 1973, the bank evicted the tenants and annouced that in the future, they would be building a new bank headquarters on the site. That summer, the Medical Arts Building was imploded. It was designed by Wyatt C. Hedrick and it opened in 1926. Until this year, it was the tallest building ever demolished in the city at 280 feet. For those of you who are interested, I have a listing of all of the tallest buildings and their heights in the City of Fort Worth at http://www.fortworth....com/fwtall.htm
. The listing includes the imploded skyscrapers and their placement by height with the current skyscrapers. If the Medical Arts Building were still standing and all of the buildings from the 1980's boom were also constructed, it would be the city's 11th Tallest Building today. The future became reality in 1980 or 81 when construction started on Burnett Plaza.
The reason the Medical Arts was considered hot property was that the First National wanted to have an office complex around Burnett Park. It sort of makes sense to have a building complex surrounding the city's only large downtown green space at the time. Also at that time, the park was a fairly popular place for office workers. IMHO, the building and the garage could have been moved one block west. In hind sight, it probably would have worked due to the bank takeovers, failures, and mergers that happened in the 1980's. The bank never moved into that building.
Pup, I have been to Charleston, SC and I love the plan they executed for the city. The little parks make the city friendly and walkable. Another place that I have been, that I like because of the plazas and squares is Washington, DC. Also note about DC -- no skyscrapers, and yet I love the city.