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U.S. Post Office Future is Uncertain


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#51 renamerusk

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Posted 01 February 2014 - 03:18 PM

Why can't the city remain small an efficient, why commandeer more and more space, why not do more with less like everyone else?

 

I probably agree with that sentiment more so, because in this day and age, downsizing, while maintaining comparable levels of service, is a trend that is not going away soon.  Just see how Amazon has remade the way shopping is done.

 

The case here is that the post office, and to a large extent the nearby warehouse, is project that most private developers would not want to take on because of it being one of such a sensitive nature.  There will be some public outcry if the plans submitted by a private developers turns out cheesy.  The city, consequentially,  is left with very few options but to use the space, particularly at the unbelievable price of "free".

 

Bottom line, take the USPS offer; empty out the satellite leasing spaces that the city is presently using; and preserve one of the city's landmark buildings.

 

That is economy with a bonus.



#52 Volare

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Posted 03 February 2014 - 08:41 AM

I will admit that I was disappointed with the content inside the museum.  I have actually been three times since it opened, with only one time being there to visit the museum.  The other times were for special functions inside.  I will say that I do like the new building better than the old one.  I just assisted you in dragging this off topic.

 

I concur with you both. Very disappointed in the new S&H museum. They took a museum with great adult content and turned it into a museum for kids with a section for little kids.



#53 johnfwd

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Posted 04 February 2014 - 08:40 AM

Here's a bit of gloom and doom:  U.S. Postal Service moves out of downtown post office, leaving ornate historical building vacant.  City of Fort Worth, with its prolonged indecision as to where to relocate city hall, is stalemated.  Private developers won't touch this building because of its historical characteristics.  Discussions about turning the building into a museum linger but get nowhere.  The structure joins its dilapidated T&P warehouse neighbor in a years old (decades old?) tenure of disuse.  Windows blown out, storm water seeps in, tree grows on roof...attractive nuisance, public safety hazard, candidate for condemnation but city won't dare do that for whatever reason (the warehouse needs to be rehabbed or condemned, folks!).

 

So the old post office joins the warehouse as Fort Worth's perennial embarrassment.  Maybe the haunted house people should take this one over for awhile.

 

Yeah, I know this negative.  But it's happened to T&P, no reason why it can't happen to P.O.



#54 cberen1

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Posted 04 February 2014 - 09:03 AM

I've said it before.  I think the PO would be a great place for the public library.  More accessible than the current downtown library, certainly more grand, less faux.  And it would open the current location of the public library up for commercial development. To me the deal looks like this:

 

City acquires the PO building for free.

Library sells current location.

Library uses proceeds from sale (plus some public funds) to rellocate.

New, vibrant library, ignites development on Lancaster corridor

Old library location becomes signature 100 story highrise, redifining the Fort Worth skyline

 

It can't miss...



#55 renamerusk

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Posted 04 February 2014 - 02:37 PM

....open the current location of the public library up for commercial development. To me the deal looks like this:

 

City acquires the PO building for free.

Library sells current location.

Library uses proceeds from sale (plus some public funds) to rellocate.

New, vibrant library, ignites development on Lancaster corridor

Old library location becomes signature 100 story highrise, redifining the Fort Worth skyline

 

It can't miss...

 

I like this sort of brainstorming.   Profiting by selling prime city-owned downtown real estate is financially savy.

 

Perhaps the developers of City Place or some other developer can work  magic at the site of the current library once it has be relocated.  But then again, in a free market, what would stop the ownership of a prominent properties holder from purchasing the land and then holding it off the market just to buffer their already vast holdings.

 

Depending upon who gets title to the land will depend upon what type of development if any at all occurs - a highrise or a mid-rise.  I would hope for a developer like Spire Realty - http://www.spirerealty.com/



#56 Austin55

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Posted 04 February 2014 - 04:27 PM

I like that idea to. Do you think it would be big enough though? From the air anyway, the post office seems smaller, however I'm unaware of the interior space beyond the main hall. There would also perhaps be some expansion room behind in what is currently the covered parking area. 

The only part of the current library I'd miss is the grand staircase in the east wing. 

I'd wonder if Spire would have any interest. CityPlace Center's retail has been struggling, however I don't know about the space in the towers. If Spire isn't Sundance may perhaps be. And if neither of them took interest and no one else bought it, would the city end up with a huge abandoned building on it's hands? Aren't there surface lots nearby for developers that would be cheaper to build on?



#57 cberen1

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Posted 05 February 2014 - 09:07 AM

I like that idea to. Do you think it would be big enough though? From the air anyway, the post office seems smaller, however I'm unaware of the interior space beyond the main hall. There would also perhaps be some expansion room behind in what is currently the covered parking area. 

The only part of the current library I'd miss is the grand staircase in the east wing. 

I'd wonder if Spire would have any interest. CityPlace Center's retail has been struggling, however I don't know about the space in the towers. If Spire isn't Sundance may perhaps be. And if neither of them took interest and no one else bought it, would the city end up with a huge abandoned building on it's hands? Aren't there surface lots nearby for developers that would be cheaper to build on?

 

The Post Office footprint is smaller than the current library, but the current library has a lot of inefficiently used space (large atriums, the gallery, etc.).  And modern libraries require a lot less space.

 

Most of the surface lots nearby are owened by FUMC, and are not available for development.  The library sits on a superblock.  It opens a lot of possibilities.



#58 JBB

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Posted 05 February 2014 - 10:23 AM

I really like that idea too.  I can't imagine anyone having much of an attachment to the current library.  The interior is horribly dated and the exterior of the upper floors is easily the least appealing of all of the work Schwartz has done in FW.



#59 Fort Worthology

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Posted 05 February 2014 - 11:20 AM

I don't have a major problem with the currently library, but it definitely reflects the huge list of compromises that lay in its design history, and the exterior very much reflects the uber-low budget spent on it.


- Writer, musician, photographer, general nerd.

 


#60 ramjet

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Posted 05 February 2014 - 12:35 PM

Has anyone been to the the Chelsea Market on 9th Avenue in New York?  It's a foodie paradise on the ground floor, and the upper floors are used for office space.  It is very cool.  It's a re-purposed former Nabisco factory.

 

While I think post office would be a beautiful city hall for Fort Worth, I would much rather see it re-purposed for the public so we have better access to experience it's terrific-ness.  Something like the Chelsea Market:

 

http://chelseamarket...-chelsea-market

 

Something like that would attract visitors; serve as a living amenity for downtown residents; and perhaps spur demand for more living and working spaces directly on Lancaster, including demand for live/work space in the T&P warehouse. Private investment will make it happen faster.  I'm afraid we might all be floating in the streets and canals of Panther Island on our drone powered walkers before the city ever made a move on either property.  



#61 JBB

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Posted 05 February 2014 - 12:48 PM

I have been to Chelsea Market.  Here's my pic from my trip in 2009:
 
3680077775_ff9698ccd0_b.jpg

That's another great idea, although I've always pictured that as being better suited for the bottom floor of the T&P warehouse. For some local reference, I found the Chelsea Market to be very similar to the short-lived Rail Market in the Santa Fe Freight building.

#62 johnfwd

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Posted 05 February 2014 - 01:58 PM

Good point about the Chelsea Market.  Actually that illustration, in my view, points more relevantly to the old Public Market building in downtown Fort Worth (subject of a lot of discussion in another thread) and, of which, we are patiently waiting for rehab plans to be realized.

 

My view of public library re-location (to the post office, I guess) is closer to cberen1's.  Changing technologies in the publication and related industries suggests that public libraries in the future will occupy much smaller spaces than even that afforded by the PO building.  I also point out that it wasn't too long ago when taxpayers and fund-raisers spent a lot of money for city library expansion at its present location, so relocation is premature, maybe? 



#63 RD Milhollin

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Posted 05 February 2014 - 04:26 PM

Love that image of Chelsea Market, but I see that concept as fitting into the ground floor of the T & P Warehouse, with offices above, and residences above that… restaurant/bar on the roof!



#64 JBB

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Posted 05 February 2014 - 08:22 PM

My view of public library re-location (to the post office, I guess) is closer to cberen1's.  Changing technologies in the publication and related industries suggests that public libraries in the future will occupy much smaller spaces than even that afforded by the PO building.


That same thought crossed my mind when I was replying earlier. I took a few classes at the (then) new UNT Dallas campus several a few years ago and, other than a small reference section, their library was completely electronic.

I also point out that it wasn't too long ago when taxpayers and fund-raisers spent a lot of money for city library expansion at its present location, so relocation is premature, maybe?

 
If the plan works out as stated, proceeds from the sale of the current library property could cover the cost of renovating the post office building into a library.

Love that image of Chelsea Market, but I see that concept as fitting into the ground floor of the T & P Warehouse, with offices above, and residences above that… restaurant/bar on the roof!


It's also worth noting that the Chelsea Market building is twice as large as the T&P warehouse at 1.1 million square feet.

#65 T&PLoftDweller

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Posted 05 February 2014 - 10:14 PM

Not to go off topic more, but I too have been to the Chelsea Market and envisioned something similar in the T&P Warehouse. I think the utilitarian warehouse style would be a better fit than the classical architecture of the PO. Like JBB said, the warehouse is smaller than the Chelsea Market building, especially the depth. I could see the loading dock doors turned into storefronts with shops that run the full depth rather than the interior storefront style of the Chelsea Market. This would be a great draw for residents and visitors alike.

As far as the future of the post office goes, the renderings I saw a few years ago for city hall looked like a great fit. As I recall the parking lot on the east side was partially turned into a public area with a fountain. I'm surprised no one has said anything about these parking lots in front of the T&P Lofts that the post office has neglected for years, or the loading dock area that connects the post office to the T&P. They are a bonus for whatever ends up going in the PO building.

Whatever it becomes, I look forward to seeing the exterior of the building cleaned up and for there not to be deteriorating blinds in the windows.

#66 gdvanc

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Posted 17 February 2014 - 12:36 AM

I agree that the PO could make a nice library. The space issue could be a problem, though. The PO is significantly smaller than the existing Central Library: As said earlier in the thread, according to TAD the PO has 99,030 sq. ft. in the main building plus 19,122 sq. ft. that I assume is the warehousy thing behind it; it shows the Central Library weighing in at 172,759 sq. ft. I'm not saying it wouldn't work - as has been pointed out, the nature of libraries is evolving and it can be argued that this evolution may require less space; also, there is a lot of flexibility in how a library can be laid out - space between stacks, size of common areas, etc. I just wonder if it might not meet with quite a bit of resistance. You  may have to really sell the money side.

 

Having the library closer to transit would certainly seem like a big plus. Is the parking also better at the PO than at the current central library?

 

My biggest concern with using it as a library - or as a city hall, for that matter - is that I just have this impression that the city does not have a consistent history of being a model steward of its historical assets. I hope I'm wrong, but that has been my impression. Would the maintenance and upkeep of that beautiful interior & exterior be too much for a city with perennial budget challenges?

 

The financial part is interesting. My first question is: do we know that the USPS would just give it to the city, or was that speculation? I don't think I'd ever heard that before. If TAD is to be believed, the market value of the current central library is about $15.5M and for the PO about $12.0M. Accurate? No idea. But to do a full analysis, we should also look at the potential for both if developed. Given their respective locations and development potential, how much tax is forfeited keeping either off the roles?

 

Whatever happens - public or private - I hope it is lovingly restored. I'm having trouble not sharing johnfwd's pessimism right now, though.

 

Getting back off-topic - both the Chelsea Station/Faneuil Hall use and the Tech Incubator use would be much better suited for the T&P Warehouse. It could house both. And possibly a data center. And a restaurant incubator (from another thread). And an awesome gym. And an interesting multi-family units. And a great roof-top bar with a grotto or something.



#67 cberen1

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Posted 17 February 2014 - 08:15 AM

Getting back off-topic - both the Chelsea Station/Faneuil Hall use and the Tech Incubator use would be much better suited for the T&P Warehouse. It could house both. And possibly a data center. And a restaurant incubator (from another thread). And an awesome gym. And an interesting multi-family units. And a great roof-top bar with a grotto or something.

 

I would love to see the T&P as a technology incubator.  Can you imagine the energy (people-wise) in that part of town?  Roof-top patio/lounge, pedestrians hitting the bricks for coffee in the middle of the night, bright young minds pushing out ideas/concepts, start-ups springing up out of the ground.

 

Call it the "Technology & Production Warehouse."



#68 Austin55

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Posted 17 February 2014 - 02:36 PM

^If that doesn't happen there, it needs to somewhere in FW. Preferably downtown or Southside. 

 

edit- actually sounds a bit like the atmosphere of TCC. When combined with radioshack, theres a lot going on there.



#69 renamerusk

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Posted 17 February 2014 - 11:17 PM


The financial part is interesting. My first question is: do we know that the USPS would just give it to the city, or was that speculation? I don't think I'd ever heard that before. If TAD is to be believed, the market value of the current central library is about $15.5M and for the PO about $12.0M. Accurate? No idea. But to do a full analysis, we should also look at the potential for both if developed. Given their respective locations and development potential, how much tax is forfeited keeping either off the roles?

 

The best answer to your question that I could find doing a search would be the authority given to GSA to convey surplus property to local govermental agencies is the Public Benefit Conveyance rule where it is deemed a benefit will be bestowed upon the receiving local agency.  The law permits the GSA to donate the surplus property at a considerable discount up to 100% of market value.

 

My guess is that there is not that much speculative demand for private development of the post office at current market value.  A hotel seems like a big risk considering the ongoing plight of the Sheraton Hotel nearby. 

 

By its mere existence, avoiding a state of abandonment of the post office is a significant benefit to the public.

 

Keep Fort Worth folksy



#70 renamerusk

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Posted 27 February 2014 - 10:08 AM

It was an interesting discussion.  There are plans for the future.  It appears the next block to be redeveloped is the old Monnig's Block, sitting to the southwest of the Westbrook and east of The Tower.  They [Sundance] plan to put a boutique hotel on that block.

 

 

A hotel would work well there.

 

I am hopeful that Sundance's plans for a boutique hotel will pretty much take the idea of converting the post office into a boutique hotel off the table. 



#71 renamerusk

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Posted 07 June 2014 - 09:27 PM

1000% for this!

 

http://fwbusinesspre...ost-Office.aspx



#72 renamerusk

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Posted 07 June 2014 - 10:00 PM

....moving City Hall to he post office and demolishing the current city hall.

 

 Here, I think the city will have some nifty ways to raise the cash to pull this off.

 

(1) Sell the Lone Star Gas Building (Boutique hotel or apartments)

(2) Sell/lease current city hall to Texas A&M (Texas A&M Law School)

 

Though it is my understanding that surplus federal property can be transferred to local governments for $1.00 if the use of the property is to be use for governmental purposes.



#73 Austin55

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Posted 07 June 2014 - 10:10 PM

^Where would the city have a lot of it's offices though? The P.O. does'nt have a lot of room for offices, so the Lone Star gas building would either still be needed or perhaps a new facility could be found. 

Perhaps the city could move some offices into the proposed Lancaster Place, or (gasp) the T&P warehouse.

Either way- Glad to see the P.O. is probably going to fall into good hands. I trust the city to take good care of it, it's probably the most beautiful building we have in Fort Worth. 



#74 Volare

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Posted 08 June 2014 - 07:06 AM

Don't count chickens before they hatch. Still lots of ways this can go badly...



#75 renamerusk

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Posted 08 June 2014 - 10:46 AM

^Where would the city have a lot of it's offices though? The P.O. does'nt have a lot of room for offices, so the Lone Star gas building would either still be needed or perhaps a new facility could be found.......Perhaps the city could move some offices into .....(gasp) the T&P warehouse.

Either way- Glad to see the P.O. is probably going to fall into good hands. I trust the city to take good care of it, it's probably the most beautiful building we have in Fort Worth. 

 

There appears to be a large mail processing area in the back area of the P.O. that can be demolished; and then excavated so that this area could house suites of subterranean offices. There is also a loading dock between the P.O. and the T&P Building that can be incorporated into a new civic complex.

 

Another strategy would be one of decentralizing the departments out of downtown: Public Works, Traffic, Water, .... @ Felix Street Yard; Parks @ Botanic Gardens; etc. Offices to be kept downtown: Mayor/Council, Legal, Revenue, Customer Services at the P.O. site.



#76 John T Roberts

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Posted 10 June 2014 - 01:09 PM

BREAKING NEWS:  IT'S OVER.

 

The City of Fort Worth will not be purchasing and converting the Post Office to be City Hall.  I know there have been several articles published between this and the last post, but the debate is over.  The U.S. Postal Service will not be selling the historic downtown Post Office and they will retain operations at that location.  Here is a link to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram article just published online:

 

http://www.star-tele...es-making.html#



#77 Austin55

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Posted 10 June 2014 - 01:13 PM

THAT FIRST SENTENCE SCARED ME. BUT THEN IT GOT ALL BETTER. YAY. 



#78 RenaissanceMan

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Posted 10 June 2014 - 01:19 PM

I have to admit that I'm a little disappointed.

#79 RenaissanceMan

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Posted 10 June 2014 - 01:26 PM

Ok, never mind. Just read the FWBP article. I am now fervently hoping for a direct sale from the PO to the City. I really want to see City Hall there.

 

Also, does anyone else find it ironic that the TIF Board didn't find out about this sooner because the U.S. Postal Service sent them a letter?



#80 Fort Worthology

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Posted 10 June 2014 - 01:34 PM

I'm actually pretty happy about this.  I love going into the post office for, well, post office things.  As long as the USPO keeps it up, I'm happy having them sticking around.


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#81 RenaissanceMan

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Posted 10 June 2014 - 02:03 PM

I'm actually pretty happy about this.  I love going into the post office for, well, post office things.  As long as the USPO keeps it up, I'm happy having them sticking around.

 

I can generally go along with this except for two points that I can't quite get past:

 

1. Who knows how long the USPS will be able to continue to occupy and operate out of the building (not to mention keep it up) and as they have been facing a prolonged decline, how much time, interest and investment will they be able to justify on business terms relating to the preservation of the building. Similarly, who knows if and when we will have a City Council that has the ability and the willingness to invest in a move such as this and if/when the Post Office comes on the market again, will they be in a similar position to act or will the building be threatened by outside development?

 

2. I hate, hate, hate the current City Hall (perhaps in small part because the building it replaced which, while small and inadequate, was nonetheless beautiful). My strong inclination toward historical preservation goes only so far. I recognize that tastes change and that it is a very dangerous thing to suggest that the ugliness (should I even go so far as to say architectural vulgarity) of some buildings outweighs their historical significance and that today's treasures can easily become expendable tomorrow, but still...there has to be some ability to right an occasional wrong (and recognize it as such) despite its ability to stand as an example of an architect's best work. There has to be a line, and for me, it runs parallel to Jennings.



#82 johnfwd

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Posted 16 July 2014 - 08:24 AM

Updated info on Post Office at Lancaster:  This morning, I noticed on a wall of the lobby the PO has posted a letter mailed certified July 11 to the Texas Historical Commission Architectural Division.  Maybe this has already been reported, but the letter states plans to renovate the second floor for office space.  From what I read the PO is apparently seeking input (or giving it) on the historical effects of the renovation in as much as the structure is on the National Register of Historical Places.  I asked a postal worker what's going on.  She said postal inspectors are moving in upstairs.



#83 John T Roberts

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Posted 16 July 2014 - 09:10 AM

The USPS plans to move postal inspectors into the second floor.  I have seen the letter and the attached renovation plans.  The Federal Preservation Officer has ruled that this remodeling will not have an adverse affect on the building.  All of the work will be done in the back of the house area where the public is not allowed. 



#84 Austin55

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Posted 04 February 2015 - 11:37 AM

Big crane on site today, looks like roof or HVAC work on the building with the truck docks.

#85 Austin55

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Posted 06 April 2015 - 02:21 PM

Saw some activity with an Ajax Glass truck today, looked like they might be fitting or measuring for new parts. I'm not sure if anything has been done with the annex/loading dick area, looks like all the work has been on the PO itself.



#86 RD Milhollin

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Posted 10 September 2015 - 10:09 AM

Scrub-A-Dub at the Historic Central Post Office:

 

http://www.star-tele...le34399434.html



#87 John T Roberts

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Posted 10 September 2015 - 11:08 AM

Yes, all of the work is going on inside the main building.  It is nice to see that they are cleaning the exterior.  It was needed.



#88 Volare

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Posted 10 September 2015 - 03:57 PM

The last time they did this was about 1984 +/- 5 years or so. I was in grade school nearby and we drove across the old I-30 overhead every day going to/from school. It was a much bigger process then. They draped the building with fabric in the area they were treating. Makes me think they were using sand or something more abrasive than water. It also took a lot longer to do



#89 Austin55

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Posted 22 July 2016 - 01:18 PM

There has'nt been to much talk of the building  since it's restoration, but it looks amazing. 

 

Cn_eh3UUAAAN_0f.jpg

 

Here's a photo from Dangr.Dave from 2012 just to compare, https://flic.kr/p/bFNt1B

 

 



#90 John T Roberts

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Posted 22 July 2016 - 02:14 PM

Austin, you have been getting some incredibly blue skies in your recent photographs.



#91 renamerusk

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Posted 24 July 2016 - 01:30 PM

There has'nt been to much talk of the building  since it's restoration, but it looks amazing. 

 

Cn_eh3UUAAAN_0f.jpg

 

Here's a photo from Dangr.Dave from 2012 just to compare, https://flic.kr/p/bFNt1B

 

Without a doubt, one of the "BigThree" Downtown landmarks, the others being Tarrant County Courthouse and Texas& Pacific. :)



#92 John T Roberts

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Posted 24 July 2016 - 05:10 PM

I need to get over there in the evening and take some photographs, as well.






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