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New 58 story mixed-use tower planned - but where?


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#51 JOCOguy

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Posted 21 March 2013 - 05:34 PM

I lived in Midland for almost four years, spent many summers there as a kid when I was in school.  I like the city a lot.  But every time I would drive home to Fort Worth I would always notice that Fort Worth’s skyline was a lot bigger and more impressive.  Since that time, FW has built a lot more buildings and Midland has not. 

Midland’s downtown is impressive, especially when you consider that all of the taller buildings were built when the population was less than 90,000.  I was there in 1987 when Oprah Winfrey came to televise her show from Midland Center when they rescued Jessica McClure (“Baby Jessica”) from the well there.  When she got out of her car at the Midland Hilton she looked around and made a comment about the city being much bigger than she expected. 

If Midland can pull this off, more power to them.



#52 eastfwther

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Posted 21 March 2013 - 08:45 PM

Wow, didn't think my comment would get so much attention.  Well, I must've seen some good pics of Midland, because when I went back and looked, I'm like "ehh" I guess Fort Worth's skyline is better.  Which honestly, as much as I'm fond of Fort Worth, I've never liked the skyline, and sorry, I've never known anyone, I guess except people from Fort Worth, who were neccessarily impressed by it. I can't think of one time in my entire life have I heard anyone say anything about how beautful the skyline here is.   I find the city skyline gapping, sparse and off balance. Not to mention, none of the "skyscrapers" are attractive to me.  But that's just my opinion, I'm sure others will disagree.  I don't care enough to argue about it.



#53 Fort Worthology

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Posted 21 March 2013 - 08:51 PM

I don't care enough about the skyline to have a strong opinion on it.



#54 renamerusk

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Posted 21 March 2013 - 09:48 PM

I don't care enough to argue about it.

 

 

I don't care enough about the skyline to have a strong opinion on it.

 

Fair enough guys, but a skyline is important and relevant.

 

A skyline is a physical representation of a city's facts of life ... a potential work of art ... its collective vista; – Fellow of the American Institute of Architects adding - skylines serve as a kind of fingerprint of a city, as no two skylines are alike”.



#55 JBB

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Posted 21 March 2013 - 10:04 PM

The activity of a city on the street level tells me far more about its character than I can ever learn by looking at its skyline from 5 miles away.

#56 Jeriat

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Posted 21 March 2013 - 11:48 PM

Yeah, the ground level is most important.

But the skyline is still the signature. And it's not impossible to have the best of BOTH in the same city. 

Just sayin'. 


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#57 Fort Worthology

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Posted 22 March 2013 - 01:29 AM

Fair enough guys, but a skyline is important and relevant.

 

I don't live in a skyline.  I live in the city.  The skyline's impressiveness doesn't really mean anything to me.  There are a hundred cities with skylines more impressive than ours, and a hundred with ones less impressive than ours.  Some of the world's greatest cities have almost no skyline to speak of.

 

The skyline will grow when it makes sense for it to.  In the meantime, I'd rather have three dozen well-designed new infill buildings of 2 to, oh, let's say 8 stories than I would a signature tower or two.  



#58 ramjet

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Posted 22 March 2013 - 08:46 AM

Being a bit of an HGTV junkee, I was watching Househunters International the other night and an American couple was moving to Dublin, Ireland.  I was struck by the vibrancy and beauty of the street life.  Very dense, but really no tall buildings.  At one point, they showed a panoramic skyline of Dublin and what stuck out was church steeples and the Dublin Eye, which is a ferris wheel.  I would love for Fort Worth or Austin or any American city to look like Dublin.  With the exception of Manhattan, skylines just don't do it for me anymore. 



#59 Jeriat

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Posted 22 March 2013 - 09:13 AM

Being a bit of an HGTV junkee, I was watching Househunters International the other night and an American couple was moving to Dublin, Ireland.  I was struck by the vibrancy and beauty of the street life.  Very dense, but really no tall buildings.  At one point, they showed a panoramic skyline of Dublin and what stuck out was church steeples and the Dublin Eye, which is a ferris wheel.  I would love for Fort Worth or Austin or any American city to look like Dublin.  With the exception of Manhattan, skylines just don't do it for me anymore. 

Dublin has 100's of years of history/development over most American cities and (what I'm assuming) no "car culture". There's also not as much space there as there is here. 

Wouldn't be easy to duplicate especially seeing how we already have skyscrapers anyway.  


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#60 Dismuke

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Posted 22 March 2013 - 09:27 AM

I completely agree with Kevin's last posting.

 

Is a skyline important and relevant?  The way to answer such a question is to follow up and ask:  important and relevant - to whom?

 

Sure, an impressive skyline is a great thing for chamber of commerce types who need to put together marketing material.   An impressive skyline makes a great visual backdrop to local television newscasts - and it undoubtedly makes an impression whenever national media display it while covering a local story.  And it is certainly a great thing for photographers and for people like many here who are fans of architecture.

 

In the end, however, an impressive skyline has almost zero impact on the day-to-day quality of life of a city's residents.   And, when it comes to attracting relocations, while a skyline might make for glitzy marketing material, the bottom line is that most non-students relocate because of economic reasons with quality of life amenities being a second but still very important consideration.   I rather doubt that very many people refuse to relocate to a particular city that best meets their needs in terms of economic opportunities and amenities simply because the skyline is underwhelming.

 

Putting up an impressive skyline in a downtown where most the buildings are empty in a city with bad economy -  that amounts to little more than a Potemkin village.   It might create a positive impression in they eyes of people who are unfamiliar with the city - but it is little more than smoke and mirrors.

 

I am old enough to remember Dallas in the late 1980s and early 1990s in the aftermath of the Tax Reform Act of 1986 and the subsequent savings and loan/real estate crash.   During the early 1980s, the Dallas skyline had become extremely impressive.  But, by the end of the decade, even many new office buildings were largely vacant. And the glut of new office buildings put extreme pressure on older office buildings - so much so that a very large percentage of pre-1970s office buildings were eventually shuttered.  It took decades for those buildings to eventually be repurposed - and some of them, including architectural treasures such as the Tower Petroleum Building, are still sitting empty.    You certainly did not want to be on the streets of downtown Dallas after 5 PM or on weekends.   And throughout the city residential streets were pockmarked with nasty, long ignored potholes.   The same glut in office buildings occurred in apartment complexes - and, after the crash, many older apartment complexes throughout the city having been marginalized by the glut of newer complexes were transformed into mini-slums.  Back then, when people relocated to "Dallas" they, in fact, relocated to the Dallas area suburbs.

 

Dallas has made great progress in terms of coming back from all that to become the pretty and dynamic city it is today.   But it took decades and some pockets of the city are still struggling.   Trust me - we don't want to go through the same thing here.


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#61 johnfwd

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Posted 22 March 2013 - 10:43 AM

Good points, Dismuke.  But what you and others here seem to be suggesting is that a skyline is something we entirely elect to do rather than something that urban economics demanded be done for various socio-economic, historical, and technological reasons.  I keep going back to the point that you build tall buildings and concentrate them in a centralized location for a number of reasons:  Historically, people concentrated centrally for security and out of fear; then urban density was further encouraged by stage coach and passenger train travel, and later the interstate highway system.  Add to that larger office population, together with the cost of building on ever scarcer plots of land, creates the need for buildings that are more vertical than horizontal.  And even the old corporate hierarchical model of top-down management has meant tall buildings.

 

The automobile, of course, has caused urban sprawl, so skylines may not be as necessary in modern times.  Corporate management is now more decentralized, so buildings may be more horizontal to reflect that model.  Looking into the future, telecommunications and the internet may mean that the proximity of physical structures for banking, commerce, and courts, may eventually no longer be necessary.  So urban CBDs may be less dense in the future (with the exception of people who like condominums in the sky).  Even nanotechnology and 3D printing, eventually, should reduce the physical scale of industrial plants.

 

But no one can deny that money and ego figures into building very tall buildings, thereby creating greater skylines, regardless of the economics.



#62 Austin55

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Posted 22 March 2013 - 02:22 PM

Another thing perhaps worth mention is how poorly designed recent skyscrapers are at the ground level to begin with! I've been to and inside Devon, and as sweet as it is in the skyline, its not very good up close. The tower itself is surrounded by a sort of garden, meaning it doesn't come up to the street, the giant glass Rotunda terminates a roadway and creates a superblock, the east wing is a bit better with a large public space, however, it's across the street from the largest public space in downtown to begin with. Not to mention it's parking garage is positively massive. 

 

 

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Most of the buildings in Victory/Dallas Uptown aren't much better. A lot of that area is large, 5 lane wide one way roads, huge towers set waaaay back from the street, big ol walled of drop off lanes, buildings with more trees and grass between them and the street than sidewalk. 

Austin, gets it right. For the crazy growth they've gotten, they've kept up an extremely high quality to it.

 

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26 by Micro55, on Flickr


#63 John T Roberts

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Posted 22 March 2013 - 03:01 PM

So what you are saying is that the Devon Energy Tower is basically a 52 story suburban office building.



#64 JBB

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Posted 22 March 2013 - 03:14 PM

Another thing perhaps worth mention is how poorly designed recent skyscrapers are at the ground level to begin with! I've been to and inside Devon, and as sweet as it is in the skyline, its not very good up close.

 

 

You don't have to go that far away to come up with an example like that.  I think you could say the same thing about Pier 1/Chesapeake.  What they do with the area surrounding during the holidays is nice, but it's pretty dead at ground level the rest of the year.



#65 eastfwther

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Posted 22 March 2013 - 05:37 PM

Fair enough guys, but a skyline is important and relevant.

 

I don't live in a skyline.  I live in the city.  The skyline's impressiveness doesn't really mean anything to me.  There are a hundred cities with skylines more impressive than ours, and a hundred with ones less impressive than ours.  Some of the world's greatest cities have almost no skyline to speak of.

 

The skyline will grow when it makes sense for it to.  In the meantime, I'd rather have three dozen well-designed new infill buildings of 2 to, oh, let's say 8 stories than I would a signature tower or two.  

 

 

Are you comparing Fort Worth lack of skyline with great cities like London and Paris?  I hope not.  Look, Sundance Square's walkable blocks are great for this region, but I'm not going to pretend it compares with true urban cities.We don't even have a good transit system for heaven sakes.  The great cities in the U.S. have both great skylines and are wonderful at ground level, it doesn't have to be one or the other. Uptown Dallas, for instance, has been booming at ground level for years, but guess what?  It's been booming at sky level too.  It's still putting up office and residential towers, that although not super tall, are still taller than anything Fort Worth has built in years. Same thing in Austin.   What a skyline says about a city isn't just aesthetic.  It says your city is prosperous and innovative.  It also means j-o-b-s.   Didn't the Star publish articles that said the Dallas side has 70% of DFW jobs, and another article said almost all the creative class jobs were there as well.  That would explain why office buildings are still going up from Dallas to Frisco.   I'm well aware that the office market hasn't been right for a skyscraper in DTFW.  It's my belief that downtown functions more as an entertainment district than a business district.  When was the last time there was any type of major office move to DTFW?  Yet there are plenty of food joints and bars.  That's why I haven't expected an office tower downtown.  I don't think there's any interest.  But since downtown is  a popular entertainment zone and a great place to live, what has baffled me is why there has been no highrise residential built? For years now we've heard how everyone wants to live downtown, yet unike Houston, Austin and Dallas, no highrise residential has gone up.  I've never had visions of office towers going up here, that's for Dallas. However, three or four really good highrise residential towers could really change our skylne. With the popularity of downtown, why hasn't that happened?



#66 renamerusk

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Posted 22 March 2013 - 05:56 PM

I don't live in a skyline.  I live in the city.....The skyline will grow when it makes sense for it to. 

 

 

I completely agree with Kevin's last posting....Is a skyline important and relevant?  The way to answer such a question is to follow up and ask:  important and relevant - to whom?

 

Such an opinion sounds counter intuitive; one either lives in a city or live in the wilderness.  For no matter what the character, a skyline is inseparable from its city and the city is inseparable from its skyline.

 

A number of cities readily come to mind where a significant amount of its people actually live in the city’s skyline; though I am hard pressed to think of an example where a “great” city does not have a skyline or people working and living in it

 

From the mystical Emerald City of Oz to the American vista of Lower Manhattan from New York Harbor, the skyline signifies the fact of the magical character of a place called a city or of a place teeming with opportunity.  Each day people come into the central core to work and to be entertained. The shadows and the wind tell you that you are at the special place; where main street meets first street.

 

Some, me included, have become reconciled with the economics that will determine when it makes sense for a skyline altering signature project(s) to be built.  I do not see any harm in expressing the longings for projects to be announced.

 

I love the mix of neighborhoods evolving within Fort Worth: downtown, Magnolia and Race Streets for examples; and support and applaud each of their different characteristics.  So it seems rather simple to me: Skyscrapers and urban villages – why not have it all?

 

And the way I reply to being asked “important and relevant to whom?; it too seems rather simple to me: Choice!

 

Keep Fort Worth folksy



#67 Dismuke

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Posted 22 March 2013 - 10:48 PM

  So it seems rather simple to me: Skyscrapers and urban villages – why not have it all?

 

 

 

Having it all is wonderful - assuming that a city's economy can support it all.  Unfortunately, one rarely gets to "have it all."  In most cases, life involves trade-offs and choices.

 

My point was simply this:  one shouldn't cheer the sort of new skyscrapers and new developments that tend to go up during credit bubbles if they are not sustainable when economic reality ultimately catches up with things.  There is nothing worse for a city than a glut of unneeded buildings.

 

It is kind of like asking wouldn't it be nice to "have it all" in terms of an individual having a really cool fancy house and a luxury car.  Of course, it would be nice.  But it wouldn't be so nice if it came as a result of having to live paycheck to paycheck to keep up with the payments while working long hours at a job one hates - a job that is looking increasingly unstable and which pays an above market wage that would be difficult to replace if the job went away.   Such an individual would probably have had a much higher quality of life and a far greater degree of flexibility to handle things such as unhappy jobs or involuntary unemployment if he instead had a far more modest but paid for house and car.


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#68 Willy1

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Posted 23 March 2013 - 07:53 PM

Fort Worth will soon be a city of 900,000 people with the tallest building at 40 stories. San Antonio also has a really sad skyline for a city its size. Austin, was much less impressive than FW just 5 years ago, or so.... Now, FW doesn't come anywhere close to comparing to Austin when it comes to skylines. Sure, DTFW is really great at the street level - and that's not something to overlook by any means. But, skyscraper fans will probably have a very long time before FW ever has anything to catch their attention. Even FW's current tallest buildings are unattractive and boxy. FW seriously needs to get with the program when it comes to true skyscrapers.

 

With that said, I do love DT FW...



#69 renamerusk

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Posted 24 March 2013 - 12:48 AM

  So it seems rather simple to me: Skyscrapers and urban villages – why not have it all?

 

 

 

Having it all is wonderful - assuming that a city's economy can support it all.  Unfortunately, one rarely gets to "have it all."  In most cases, life involves trade-offs and choices.....My point was simply this:  one shouldn't cheer the sort of new skyscrapers and new developments that tend to go up during credit bubbles if they are not sustainable when economic reality ultimately catches up with things.  There is nothing worse for a city than a glut of unneeded buildings.

 

The debate until now had been trending as a discussion between those who desired high rises and those who desired low/mid rises in downtown.

 

Taking this debate to a discussion of economics, ala the austerity debate, diverts it to an unintended direction and brings shades of the streetcar debate to mind like those who introduced specious economics in the debate between those who desired streetcars and those who desired commuter rail.

 

It is, and seems fair to me, merely a matter of preference; and to my way of thinking, expressing why can’t Fort Worth, like Dallas or Houston, have it all is a rational question supporting both high rises and mid rises. 

 

And to the general point that some, including myself, are raising about downtown Fort Worth, excluding the Sundance Mall, and the paradox of Fort Worth always being inexplicably the quickest city in the region to go into hibernation in a downturn and the slowest city in the region to revive in a recovery; well its because we are aware of the building booms already underway in Austin, Houston, Dallas and Oklahoma City.   It feels disconcerting that yet again Fort Worth is lagging behind its regional competition in new construction of large class A high rise office space and first class hospitality units and seeing potential tax receipts and blocks of employment being readied else where. 

 

Austerity and the sky is falling - only seems to resonate in Fort Worth.



#70 hannerhan

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Posted 24 March 2013 - 02:00 PM

It's my belief that downtown functions more as an entertainment district than a business district.  When was the last time there was any type of major office move to DTFW?  Yet there are plenty of food joints and bars.  That's why I haven't expected an office tower downtown.  I don't think there's any interest.  But since downtown is  a popular entertainment zone and a great place to live, what has baffled me is why there has been no highrise residential built? For years now we've heard how everyone wants to live downtown, yet unike Houston, Austin and Dallas, no highrise residential has gone up.  I've never had visions of office towers going up here, that's for Dallas. However, three or four really good highrise residential towers could really change our skylne. With the popularity of downtown, why hasn't that happened?

 

I'm not really following here.  With regards to new office jobs, there have been a lot of big energy expansions in the past decade, as well as other companies like D.R. Horton that have moved in.  Square footage has slowly but surely been added as well, with the Bank One building in the early 2000's, the multiple large XTO renovations, the other Bass building behind Bank One (can't remember the name), and most recently with the renovations of One and Two City Place.  We haven't seen a signature tower go up recently, but the office market has been strong and there continue to be jobs added at a steady clip.  Give the new City Place tower a couple of years to fill up and I'm sure we'll see a nice large building announced soon after.  With energy firms like Basic coming into town, and assuming this whole energy thing has legs for a few more years, Fort Worth stands to gain a lot.

 

As far as residential highrises, The Tower and The Omni have both opened within the past 8 years.  Not sure why you aren't counting those?  That's two of the highest 6 buildings in the city.

 

Also, comparing FW to Austin is a tough one.  Austin is literally the only city in the entire U.S. that has remade its skyline in the past decade. 



#71 ramjet

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Posted 24 March 2013 - 04:20 PM

Also, comparing FW to Austin is a tough one.  Austin is literally the only city in the entire U.S. that has remade its skyline in the past decade. 

 

I've counted 12 new high rises in downtown Austin since I moved here in 2007.  The 12 are ALL residential.  Either condos or apartments.  Two more are under construction - another apartment building and a hotel.  One midrise office building is in the future.  Downtown Austin has become a residential neighborhood and entertainment district.  Oh yea, and lots of lawyers.  And mind numbing traffic.



#72 Austin55

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Posted 24 March 2013 - 04:49 PM

The Omni is barely not the tallest, I can't help but wonder why it seems to be so often forgotten around here. It's bassicly brand new.



#73 Jeriat

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Posted 24 March 2013 - 05:37 PM

The Omni is barely not the tallest, I can't help but wonder why it seems to be so often forgotten around here. It's bassicly brand new.


OUR Omni? 

This one?

omni-const-sw.jpg

 

I believe it was downsized a little, but it wasn't going to be our next tallest anyway. Originally, it was supposed to have been about as tall as D.R. Horton, making it the 3rd largest in the city. But they cut down some floors before building.... I think.

As for it being "forgotten about", I wouldn't say that. I mean, it's the same building that held the Pittsburgh Steelers during the Ice Bowl, er, I mean, Super Bowl. That's not exactly something you forget. 


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#74 Dismuke

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Posted 24 March 2013 - 05:40 PM

Rename - nobody in this thread has been preaching austerity and the sky is falling.  What they have been doing is taking cognizance of the facts of reality - facts which can't be just wished away or negated by good intentions.

 

Discussions over proposed skyscrapers, residential developments and retail developments must necessarily include a discussion of economics.  Buildings of any kind cost an enormous amount of money - and somebody has to come up with that money.  For such developments to be viable and sustainable they have to have tenants.  And for there to be tenants  there have to be certain preconditions in terms of the local economy.   There have to be enough jobs that pay well enough to enable people to afford the new housing.  And there have to be enough people in the local population who are doing well enough and are willing enough to spend to make the local retail viable.  And there have to be enough companies doing well enough to make the additional office space viable. 

 

Those are simple facts of reality - which, again, is something that can't just be wished away or will somehow be negated by one's refusal to take into consideration.   One can talk all day long about how cool various proposed developments might be and even have fun doing so - but unless one's proposals take the economic facts of reality into consideration they are nothing more than fantasy.  There is nothing wrong with occasionally indulging in fantasy as a form of entertainment - so long that one remains aware that it is a fantasy and does not expect others to take it seriously.

 

With regard to other cities such as Dallas, Houston and Austin, to make such a comparison is not particularly valid.  Those cities each have a unique set of circumstances - i.e., facts of reality - that differ from Fort Worth's.   Dallas and Houston both have vastly larger local economies than does Fort Worth.  Austin is the primary city in its metro area - not the secondary city as is Fort Worth.  And all of those cities have, as a result, achieved a certain amount of critical mass that works to their advantage.  That is a fact of reality - one may not like it and one may wish things were otherwise - but facts are facts.   And, as a result of those facts, there are going to be occasions when those cities are going to get certain really cool things that Fort Worth does not get to have in the exact same way and for the exact same reason why Fort Worth gets certain really cool things that cities like El Paso and Abilene do not get to have.  If one thinks this situation is somehow unacceptable and wishes to work to change things - then by all means go for it.  But the first step is to understand and embrace the facts of reality so that one can know what one is up against and must do - not escape into flights of fantasy along the lines of "wouldn't it be wonderful if......."

 

Furthermore, judging one's own success or the success of a city on a comparative standard is counterproductive and can even be self-destructive.   The fact that some other person has a nicer house than you do does not make your house somehow less nice than it already is.   The fact that another person earns more money than you do and has accomplished more than you in no way undermines whatever degree of success you have earned and should make you no less proud of all that you did to achieve that success.  If a person judges his self-worth and success based on what other people do and think - he is in for a life of heartbreak.  And the same is true for a city.  If one judges Fort Worth's success based on what cool things are happening elsewhere, one will always end up being disappointed.

 

As to "austerity and the sky is falling" - well, Rename, you are the one who brought that up because the points that you are taking exception to are equally valid in both good times and bad.   But since you brought the subject up, let's discuss if for a moment because it is actually highly relevant for the times in which we live and to this subject.

 

The fact is this entire discussion would be regarded as an outright absurdity in pretty much any locality right how outside of Texas.  In most parts of the country the discussion isn't about what sorts of new development ought to take place - it's about depressed property values and how to make/keep viable the buildings and housing that already exists.

 

And, while we here in Texas are fortunate to be far better off than most parts of the country, we are still in a very tough economy.  I know from first hand experience:  I spent eight months of 2012 out of work actively looking for a new job.  Unlike in other parts of the country, there were jobs for me to apply for - but for every opening I was qualified for there was very stiff competition between others who were just as, if not more, qualified than I was.  I was very fortunate because, when I did eventually find another job, I did not have to take a cut in pay. I consider myself fortunate because I had mentally braced myself to do just that - and there are a great many people out there who have had to do so. 

 

I rather doubt there are very many people who have not, in some way or another, been impacted by the economic events of the past five years.  Austerity?  Given all that we have already been through,  I would go so far as to suggest that any person who has not given serious consideration to what would happen and what they would do if either they or their customers found themselves out of work for an extended period of time and/or were forced to take a pay cut (or, if retired, if the value of one's assets took a severe hit) is a fool.

 

The sky is falling?  Well, in Europe, it is falling.  It is just reaching the ground faster in some places than it is others.  If you live in Cyprus, the sky has already fallen - the only question at this very moment is what is going to be left in the aftermath.  In Greece, unemployment is over 26 percent and for workers under age 25 it is around 55 percent.  Youth unemployment is similar in Spain and in Italy it is over 34 percent.  And Greece, Spain and Italy have yet to hit bottom in terms of their crisis of insolvency.  That is pretty scary when one considers that Europe's knee jerk answer to Euro-socialism is not free market capitalism but rather nationalism and fascism - as indicated by the recent electoral success of certain implicitly neo-nazi third parties in countries such as Greece.  In a continent that has always been rife with anti-antisemitism, racial tensions going back hundreds of years plus a discontent, largely segregated and increasingly radicalized Muslim minority  - well, that is kind of frightening to think about and a potential powder keg that make events in history books from 1914 and 1933 seem a lot less abstract and far away.

 

But that is in Europe, you say?   But we are heading down the exact same economic path as Greece and Spain.  We are just not as far down the road - yet.   Will the same thing happen here?  It will if we don't change course.  Will we change course?  Is there even enough time left for us to change course?  I don't know.   We were heading down a similar path in the 1970s and we managed to change course.  But consider what it cost us to do so - Paul Volker essentially threw the country into the worst, most painful recession since the Depression in order to purge the economy to clear way for its subsequent renewal and relative stability.  At the very least, a reversal and cure for the long-term fiscal disaster we are heading towards is going to require a similar period of sharp, short-term pain.  Will the political will exist for it to happen?  Let's hope so - because we are already witnessing the alternative unfold in places like Cyprus and Greece.  I saw an article online the other day trying to offer reassurance that what is happening in Cyprus could never happen here because, unlike in Cyprus, our Fed has the ability to print all the money it needs in order to prop up banks and keep depositors whole.  Gee whiz -  so instead of outrightly confiscating a certain percentage of one's savings as in Cyprus, the Fed would just print up more money and inflate away the purchasing power of our savings by a similar percentage.   That is real comforting.

 

I don't know how things are going to turn out anymore than anybody else does.  But anyone who knows anything about economics and is paying attention cannot help but be disturbed by current trends.   As already mentioned, anybody who has not already asked themselves what they would do if they and/or their customers suddenly had to deal with lengthy unemployment or took a significant hit to their standard of living as a result being forced to accept a pay cut or saw their wealth eroded through possible high inflation needs to give the subject some serious thought.  How prepared are you to, if necessary, drastically cut your expenses for a possibly lengthy period of time so that you could get by on some fraction of the income you are bringing in right now and still have a happy life and come out ok?  That is not "sky is falling" thinking - is is prudently contemplating a possibility that, for many people in southern Europe right now, is current reality.

 

I know that this is a bit of digression.  But Rename, you are the one who brought the subject up - and it is certainly relevant to the root of your disagreement with myself and others.  In your posting, you did not just merely overlook economics and the facts of reality - you imply a certain amount of contempt for even considering those things.  One is certainly free to ignore economics and the facts of reality.   But that doesn't make them go away - and one does so at one's own risk.   Unfortunately, both the laws of economics and the facts of reality tend to be very unkind towards those who choose to ignore them.

 

In the end whether or not a building is viable is entirely about economics,   The fundamental difference between Fort Worth and Detroit and that one is growing and the other is becoming a ghost town is entirely due to economics.  And the same is true when it comes to the type and the amount of development in Fort Worth verses Dallas, Houston or Austin.


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#75 JBB

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Posted 24 March 2013 - 08:03 PM

Outstanding post, Dismuke. It's great to have you posting again.

#76 urbancowboy

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Posted 24 March 2013 - 08:09 PM

Fair enough guys, but a skyline is important and relevant.

 

I don't live in a skyline.  I live in the city.  The skyline's impressiveness doesn't really mean anything to me.  There are a hundred cities with skylines more impressive than ours, and a hundred with ones less impressive than ours.  Some of the world's greatest cities have almost no skyline to speak of.

 

The skyline will grow when it makes sense for it to.  In the meantime, I'd rather have three dozen well-designed new infill buildings of 2 to, oh, let's say 8 stories than I would a signature tower or two.  

 

 

Are you comparing Fort Worth lack of skyline with great cities like London and Paris?  I hope not.  Look, Sundance Square's walkable blocks are great for this region, but I'm not going to pretend it compares with true urban cities.We don't even have a good transit system for heaven sakes.  The great cities in the U.S. have both great skylines and are wonderful at ground level, it doesn't have to be one or the other. Uptown Dallas, for instance, has been booming at ground level for years, but guess what?  It's been booming at sky level too.  It's still putting up office and residential towers, that although not super tall, are still taller than anything Fort Worth has built in years. Same thing in Austin.   What a skyline says about a city isn't just aesthetic.  It says your city is prosperous and innovative.  It also means j-o-b-s.   Didn't the Star publish articles that said the Dallas side has 70% of DFW jobs, and another article said almost all the creative class jobs were there as well.  That would explain why office buildings are still going up from Dallas to Frisco.   I'm well aware that the office market hasn't been right for a skyscraper in DTFW.  It's my belief that downtown functions more as an entertainment district than a business district.  When was the last time there was any type of major office move to DTFW?  Yet there are plenty of food joints and bars.  That's why I haven't expected an office tower downtown.  I don't think there's any interest.  But since downtown is  a popular entertainment zone and a great place to live, what has baffled me is why there has been no highrise residential built? For years now we've heard how everyone wants to live downtown, yet unike Houston, Austin and Dallas, no highrise residential has gone up.  I've never had visions of office towers going up here, that's for Dallas. However, three or four really good highrise residential towers could really change our skylne. With the popularity of downtown, why hasn't that happened?

I tend to agree. Although, Fort Worth still has a very tight office market even with the new space that has come online. I wish the city would take a stronger stance in trying to bring a higher share of the region's jobs to this side of the metroplex.  I was in Austin last week and it certainly has changed a lot, but I still think that the quality of spaces being created in Fort Worth are pretty awesome.



#77 renamerusk

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Posted 24 March 2013 - 08:45 PM

I don't live in a skyline.  I live in the city.....The skyline will grow when it makes sense for it to. 

 

I completely agree with Kevin's last posting....Is a skyline important and relevant?  The way to answer such a question is to follow up and ask:  important and relevant - to whom?

 

Some, me included, have become reconciled with the economics that will determine when it makes sense for a skyline altering signature project(s) to be built.  I do not see any harm in expressing the longings for projects to be announced.

 

Having it all is wonderful - assuming that a city's economy can support it all.  Unfortunately, one rarely gets to "have it all."  In most cases, life involves trade-offs and choices....My point was simply this:  one shouldn't cheer the sort of new skyscrapers and new developments that tend to go up during credit bubbles if they are not sustainable when economic reality ultimately catches up with things.  There is nothing worse for a city than a glut of unneeded buildings.....

 

Rename - nobody in this thread has been preaching austerity and the sky is falling......As to "austerity and the sky is falling" - well, Rename, you are the one who brought that up because the points that you are taking exception to are equally valid in both good times and bad.   But since you brought the subject up, let's discuss if for a moment because it is actually highly relevant for the times in which we live and to this subject....The fact is this entire discussion would be regarded as an outright absurdity in pretty much any locality right how outside of Texas....I rather doubt there are very many people who have not, in some way or another, been impacted by the economic events of the past five years.  Austerity? ....I would go so far as to suggest that any person who has not given serious consideration to what would happen.... is a fool.

 

The sky is falling?  Well, in Europe, it is falling.......But that is in Europe, you say?   But we are heading down the exact same economic path as Greece and Spain.  We are just not as far down the road - yet......I know that this is a bit of digression.  But Rename, you are the one who brought the subject up - and it is certainly relevant to the root of your disagreement with myself and others. 

 

In your posting, you did not just merely overlook economics and the facts of reality - you imply a certain amount of contempt for even considering those things.

 

In the end whether or not a building is viable is entirely about economics,   The fundamental difference between Fort Worth and Detroit and that one is growing and the other is becoming a ghost town is entirely due to economics.  And the same is true when it comes to the type and the amount of development in Fort Worth verses Dallas, Houston or Austin.

 

All I ever advocated, as my first reply indicates, was the benign premise that a skyline could accommodate both high rise and low/mid rise building without people becoming disgruntled and saw no harm in wanting a signature tower built.  I even spoke to my acceptance of economic forces.

 

I also direct you to my reply to that statement made and for your complete agreement with that statement which caused me to opined in so many words that the Fort Worth skyline should be, how shall I say it more diplomatically, able to have high rises and low/mid rises without the grumbling. I also hoped to express to whom in later postings a skyline is important and relevant and why.

 

I am recalling that firstly, it was someone, perhaps yourself in regards to the skyline discussion,  who warned against economic bubbles and living beyond ones means; or and how again shall I say it was more candidly: Fort Worth should avoid the fate of our ghost town neighbors with their hoards of vacant office buildings.  Even though it does have some merit, this is, in my opinion, nonetheless the beginnings of the austerity syndrome.  Now secondly, by citing Europe, the cradle of austerity economics, and by doing so reasoning it to be applicable to Fort Worth goes well beyond the beginnings of the austerity syndrome and actually goes deeply into the doctrine of austerity.  The facts are:  Fort Worth is not in Europe; nor is it in the American Rust Belt; but Fort Worth is in the strongest region of the world’s largest economy.  It is not folly to expect or to hope for Fort Worth to emulate the other cities in its region who as a group appear to be off to the races in growing their next generation of office space.  It may be more dangerous to hesitate by following Europe and the cities of the American North East; causing the likelihood that Fort Worth could be left behind!

 

I am resign, at least, to the crazy notion that it is not just a soft economy that necessarily restrains Fort Worth, but other influential inside powers who do so; a notion that I am aware will be ridiculed.  But I would add that markets are very susceptible to manipulation; don't believe that Fort Worth is immune. In its unique way, Fort Worth is more town-like and more prong to restraint than Dallas, Austin or Houston.

 

But to reiterate again my opinion that a skyline is relevant and important; and  further that a skyline should and can be created to include the choices of both sides without acrimony.



#78 Dismuke

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Posted 24 March 2013 - 11:56 PM

Rename - I don't think anybody is saying that skyscrapers or impressive skylines are a bad thing.  Personally, I love them.  I think they are incredibly cool.

 

What people here are against is not skyscrapers but rather any type of development that is not economically viable  - be it skyscrapers, urban villages, shopping malls or suburban tract homes. 

 

Fortunately, there are powerful market forces that help put a break on non-viable development: people tend to be very cautious when investing large sums of their own money.  Unfortunately, however, over development can happen when outside factors interfere with those normal market forces.  It happened in the 1980s when real estate was given favorable tax advantages that caused values to rise for reasons other than actual occupant demand for such properties - and when those tax advantages were suddenly revoked the ripple effect ended up taking a whole bunch of banks down, most especially here in Texas.  It happened in the early to mid 2000s when the Greenspan Fed essentially gave credit away at very little cost - which, along with other factors, resulted in a whole bunch of people being given mortgages that they could not properly afford which, in turn, resulted in more houses being built in certain in certain regions of the country than those regions could properly support.  And there is danger of it happening again in some form or fashion:  The response of the Bernake Fed to the collapse of the bubble that the Greenspan Fed helped fuel has been to double down on the same policies in hopes that it can somehow reinflate the bubble.   If you think that is good thing - go check out Las Vegas or certain parts of Florida. One of the reasons why Texas is doing well relative to the rest of the country is we were fortunate enough to avoid the overbuilding and unsustainable local economies that came about in those regions as a result of the last bubble.

 

And I have no idea what you mean by a "doctrine of austerity."  I don't know of anybody or any group of people that advocates austerity because they think it is a wonderful thing.  Austerity is not something people do because they want to - they do it because they have to do it.

 

First, let's define "austerity."   Living within one's means is not "austerity."  That's simply being responsible and rational.  And austerity is not living below one's means.  That's called frugality which, depending upon degree and circumstances, may or may not be a good thing.    Austerity is having to cut back on expenses because one is living beyond one's means and there is no realistic basis to assume that one's income is going to rise to where it needs to be to make one's current circumstances sustainable.  In such a situation one's only possible choice is not if but when to start cutting back.  One might be able to choose to postpone the day of reckoning so long as one still has room on one's credit card - but that only makes the hole one eventually has to climb out of all that much more difficult and painful.  There is only one way to avoid having to endure austerity: live within one's means and try to have sufficient insurance and/or savings to get through periods of temporary adversity.

 

Finally, "Fort Worth" per se has little control over what does and does not get built here.  "Fort Worth" does not build skyscrapers and urban villages - companies and private investors with money build them.   It is not like there is an election where residents vote on "should we build a skyscraper or an urban village?"   The city government can, of course, help or hinder such development though zoning changes, tax breaks, infrastructure, etc.  But, in the end, a development gets built because some private investors think, rightly or wrongly, wisely or foolishly, that it is going to be financially viable.  And it doesn't matter whether or not Fort Worth investors think the "sky is falling" or subscribe to a so-called "austerity doctrine."  If there is a potentially viable opportunity that local investors are too ignorant or foolish to appreciate, there will always be plenty of out of town investors who will be more than happy to come in and take advantage of it.  In the end, what gets built and what doesn't get built all boils down to economics.

 

If by "a skyline should be created" you mean that you want a skyline to be created - well, that's fine and I will even join you in wanting it.   But outside of that, it is meaningless.  Exactly who is going to create it?  And where are they going to get the money - and how are they going to break even/pay the money back?  Even if your last name is Bass and the desire for it is similarly passionate there is very little you could do if the fundamental economics do not make sense.


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#79 Now in Denton

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Posted 26 March 2013 - 10:45 AM

 I think it needs a lot more help.  I also agree that several shorter buildings would benefit their downtown more than one tall one.

 No No no ! Sorry for shouting Mr. Robert's but good grief ! The bebefit would be a super tall one ! My point's were made on other post's why we need a super tall building. But in short Look at Dubie. How a super tall building looks great over smaller buildings. Several more small buildings  in DT Fort Worth is so very very wrong. Very Bad idea.



#80 Fort Worthology

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Posted 26 March 2013 - 10:54 AM

 I think it needs a lot more help.  I also agree that several shorter buildings would benefit their downtown more than one tall one.

 No No no ! Sorry for shouting Mr. Robert's but good grief ! The bebefit would be a super tall one ! My point's were made on other post's why we need a super tall building. But in short Look at Dubie. How a super tall building looks great over smaller buildings. Several more small buildings  in DT Fort Worth is so very very wrong. Very Bad idea.

 

Counterpoint:

 

valencia.jpg

 

I'd much, much rather have the majority of vacant lots, parking lots, and underutilized lots filled up with quality development of 4-8 stories than some gigantic new tower that we can't actually justify.  This would do a *lot* more for downtown and the city's long-term health than just throwing skyscrapers up for the sake of having skyscrapers.

 

AND, having most of the stuff filled up with quality smaller-scaled but still dense walkable development would drive up the density and actually make a new skyscraper or two more justifiable.  (Because I'm not against skyscrapers, provided they're A. well-designed and B. not part of some Potemkin Village attempt to make us seem more impressive on a Chamber of Commerce postcard.)



#81 Now in Denton

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Posted 26 March 2013 - 11:17 AM

 I think it needs a lot more help.  I also agree that several shorter buildings would benefit their downtown more than one tall one.

 No No no ! Sorry for shouting Mr. Robert's but good grief ! The bebefit would be a super tall one ! My point's were made on other post's why we need a super tall building. But in short Look at Dubie. How a super tall building looks great over smaller buildings. Several more small buildings  in DT Fort Worth is so very very wrong. Very Bad idea.

 

Counterpoint:

 

valencia.jpg

 

I'd much, much rather have the majority of vacant lots, parking lots, and underutilized lots filled up with quality development of 4-8 stories than some gigantic new tower that we can't actually justify.  This would do a *lot* more for downtown and the city's long-term health than just throwing skyscrapers up for the sake of having skyscrapers.

 

AND, having most of the stuff filled up with quality smaller-scaled but still dense walkable development would drive up the density and actually make a new skyscraper or two more justifiable.  (Because I'm not against skyscrapers, provided they're A. well-designed and B. not part of some Potemkin Village attempt to make us seem more impressive on a Chamber of Commerce postcard.)

 I think you make my point. Not Mr. Roberts? Where in DT Fort Worth could you put a park like that at? And put several MORE smaller building's on a already DT full of small buildings? As Mr. Roberts said he would like to see? A Super Tall building would free up more space for a park like that. Again I made that point some time ago. On other post.

 

A super tall building IS justifiable.When we use plotting right.



#82 eastfwther

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Posted 26 March 2013 - 01:03 PM

It's my belief that downtown functions more as an entertainment district than a business district.  When was the last time there was any type of major office move to DTFW?  Yet there are plenty of food joints and bars.  That's why I haven't expected an office tower downtown.  I don't think there's any interest.  But since downtown is  a popular entertainment zone and a great place to live, what has baffled me is why there has been no highrise residential built? For years now we've heard how everyone wants to live downtown, yet unike Houston, Austin and Dallas, no highrise residential has gone up.  I've never had visions of office towers going up here, that's for Dallas. However, three or four really good highrise residential towers could really change our skylne. With the popularity of downtown, why hasn't that happened?

 

I'm not really following here.  With regards to new office jobs, there have been a lot of big energy expansions in the past decade, as well as other companies like D.R. Horton that have moved in.  Square footage has slowly but surely been added as well, with the Bank One building in the early 2000's, the multiple large XTO renovations, the other Bass building behind Bank One (can't remember the name), and most recently with the renovations of One and Two City Place.  We haven't seen a signature tower go up recently, but the office market has been strong and there continue to be jobs added at a steady clip.  Give the new City Place tower a couple of years to fill up and I'm sure we'll see a nice large building announced soon after.  With energy firms like Basic coming into town, and assuming this whole energy thing has legs for a few more years, Fort Worth stands to gain a lot.

 

As far as residential highrises, The Tower and The Omni have both opened within the past 8 years.  Not sure why you aren't counting those?  That's two of the highest 6 buildings in the city.

 

Also, comparing FW to Austin is a tough one.  Austin is literally the only city in the entire U.S. that has remade its skyline in the past decade. 

I  said RECENT moves to DTFW. DR Horton moved downtown how long ago? The same with XTO. In the meantime, theres' been scores of RECENT sizable office moves and expansions (by expansion, I mean jobs) in the Dallas area of which I can't remember anything close happening here in many years. Just last week, some company in or near Dallas just announced 500 office jobs, and a new office tower is a pretty sure thing in the the Dallas Arts District. As I said earlier, I don't expect any office towers in DTFW, I really don't. However, I did expect some residential towers by now and as someone else pointed out, Austin has changed its skyline with mostly residential highrises (I would say say the same about Dallas and the Galleria Area of Houston). Why can't DTFW? I didn't mention The Tower because it's not new, and the Omni is a hotel (that threw in a few condos that they can't sell.). Oh and back to office space... remember the 30-something-story Bank One building (The Tower) was replaced with a mere 12 story building! That's why I'm not expecting any office tower downtown. There's no need for one. Office space is tight in DTFW because there's so little of it, not because there's some huge demand.



#83 Dismuke

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Posted 26 March 2013 - 04:40 PM

 

. Office space is tight in DTFW because there's so little of it, not because there's some huge demand.

 

It would be interesting to see the numbers on what sort of increase there has been in downtown workers over the past 20 years verses what sort of increase there has been in downtown residents.

 

Another factor for office space is that companies themselves are needing less of it.  How many secretaries are there still out there?  Top executives might have them - but decades ago even lower level managers had them and companies had secretarial pools for things such as typing.  Today, because of word processors and various sorts of productivity software, most people are expected to do for themselves what would have once been handed to a secretary.   And the same is true for paper records.  Years ago, companies had rooms full of file cabinets and had a staff of clerks who organized and retrieved documents.  Today, the information from an entire room full of documents in file cabinets can be carried around on a key chain.  With the trend towards "cloud computing" many companies no longer need the same sort of server rooms they used to have.  All of that adds up to less need for office space.

 

On top of that, to the degree telecommuting makes sense for a company, that reduces need for office space.  And, of course, companies are now able to off shore certain functions that once would have required domestic office space.

 

Also, if you stop and think about it - what industry tended to have the biggest impact on the skylines here in the Metroplex?   It was the old-time locally based giant Texas banks.  Dallas had three big banks - Republic, First National and the Mercantile.   And, over the decades, the three of them were engaged in a "mine is bigger than yours" contest over who had the tallest building in town - and each took turns holding that claim.  In the 1980s, the Mercantile, renamed M-Bank and First National, renamed Interfirst built brand new skyscrapers which are still the two most dominant on the skyline.  Republic had its own new skyscraper on the drawing board but it was never built.  Interfirst failed and Republic swallowed it up only for the combined company to fail a year later.  M-bank also failed.  In the aftermath, Republic's skyscraper and Mercantile's old skyscraper sat abandoned quite a while.  Both have now been converted entirely or in part to residential.

 

All of the big banks in Texas with the exception of Frost Bank failed.  Their remnants are now but branches of the big national banks that dominate today.  Chase, Bank of America, Wells Fargo, etc. couldn't care less if they have the biggest skyscraper in all of the various cities they operate in - and neither do their customers.   And, given that taxpayers are on the hook should they need to be bailed out, I am glad that they have better things to do with their money than building monuments to themselves.

 

And beyond banks, the stockholders of publicly held corporations tend to be geographically scattered.  They are not likely to care whether the company they invest in has a cool headquarters or not.  Look what happened to Radio Shack and Pier One right after they opened showplace headquarters - you can sure bet the shareholders weren't impressed.  Add to that all we have been through in the economy over the past few years - plus the extreme level of uncertainty and uncharted waters that businesses of all sizes are having to navigate on pretty much every front.

 

None of that adds up to a big upswing in demand for office space.

 

Look at a photo of the Fort Worth skyline from about 1931, the year that the Depression started to take hold here in Texas and at a photo of the same skyline from the mid 1950s and you will see pretty much the exact same skyline.  Same with the Dallas skyline with the exception of the Mercantile and the Rio Grande Life buildings.  I think it is very possible that there could be a similar situation for many city skylines over the next couple of decades.  The fact that we are still getting new buildings of any size is pretty remarkable and something we certainly should not take for granted.


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#84 Dismuke

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Posted 26 March 2013 - 06:05 PM

Kevin - what city is that photo of?

 

I personally much prefer a city where there is lots of energy and traffic on the sidewalk level.  Without it, one might as well be in suburbia.

 

I recently discovered through Google Maps a neighborhood in Queens, New York that strikes me as being incredibly cool and charming.   Oddly enough I learned about it from an article about a still notorious murder that took place decades ago.   Out of morbid curiosity I did a Google Maps search for the scene of the murder and here is what came up: 

 

http://goo.gl/maps/Dp262

 

Spin the streets view around and "walk" down a few blocks to get a feel for the area.  Next time I am in New York I am definitely going to make a visit.

 

Of course, the New York boroughs and the Northeast in general are full of such neighborhoods.

 

Yes, the skyscrapers of New York are impressive and the fact that it contains the world's largest and most concentrated collection of pre World War II skyscrapers is what make it such a special place for me.   But, for me, an equally special part of being up there is walking through neighborhoods in the city's boroughs where the buildings are much smaller and far less showy but which are still very dense and alive.   We have skyscrapers here in Texas - but we don't have much that even remotely compares with such neighborhoods in Queens and elsewhere.


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#85 Jeriat

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Posted 26 March 2013 - 06:19 PM

 I think it needs a lot more help.  I also agree that several shorter buildings would benefit their downtown more than one tall one.

 No No no ! Sorry for shouting Mr. Robert's but good grief ! The bebefit would be a super tall one ! My point's were made on other post's why we need a super tall building. But in short Look at Dubie. How a super tall building looks great over smaller buildings. Several more small buildings  in DT Fort Worth is so very very wrong. Very Bad idea.


I love skyscrapers, but you're dead wrong on that one. 

I always, ALWAYS say that there should be a mix here in Fort Worth. 

- 50% low rise (1 - 8 stories)
- 30% mid rise (9 - 18 stories) 
- 19% high rise / skyscrapers (20+ stories / 500ft. - 1,000ft.)
- And some day in the somewhat distant future, 1% Supertall (1,000ft.+)

 


7fwPZnE.png

 

8643298391_d47584a085_b.jpg


#86 Fort Worthology

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Posted 26 March 2013 - 10:44 PM

Kevin - what city is that photo of?

 

Valencia, Spain.



#87 hannerhan

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Posted 27 March 2013 - 07:54 AM

But since downtown is  a popular entertainment zone and a great place to live, what has baffled me is why there has been no highrise residential built?

 

As far as residential highrises, The Tower and The Omni have both opened within the past 8 years.  Not sure why you aren't counting those?  That's two of the highest 6 buildings in the city.

I didn't mention The Tower because it's not new, and the Omni is a hotel (that threw in a few condos that they can't sell.).

 

You say you can't understand why more highrise residential isn't built, and then you discount The Omni because those units aren't selling?  That's rich.



#88 JBB

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Posted 27 March 2013 - 08:53 AM

A Super Tall building would free up more space for a park like that.

 

So, you're asserting that there's a shortage of available land downtown?  That's awesome.  I'll assume you haven't driven down Jones or Calhoun in, oh, I don't know, the last 30 or so years.  Or Henderson.  Or Lancaster. 

 

For the record, I'm not opposed to high rise construction downtown in favor of something else.  I just think it's silly to suggest that Fort Worth is "doing it wrong" because there's not a 800 foot skyscraper going up on every corner.  When it becomes profitable for the developers to go up, it will happen.  It really isn't much more complicated than that.  Unless you wear a tinfoil hat and believe that there's some smoky, back room conspiracy where guys with with cigars and brandy sniffers plot their next move in the battle against high rise construction.  And I've made my feelings on those theories known.



#89 eastfwther

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Posted 27 March 2013 - 09:09 AM

 

 

You say you can't understand why more highrise residential isn't built, and then you discount The Omni because those units aren't selling?  That's rich.

The Omni does have condos and I admit, I don't know how many, but it is primarily a hotel, not a highrise residential building. If you want to count it as a residential building then go ahead.  But if the condos are indeed on the upper floors of the glass tower section, than I stand corrected there is some new highrise living in Fort Worth. But maybe because I find the Omni boring and drab like DTFW office towers, I actually forget the condos are there.  Anyway, I never said the highrise residential has to be condos.  You would have to be nuts to build highrise condos in Fort Worth. Highrise rental is the way to go here, just as the majority of highrises in other TX cities is mostly for-lease units.



#90 Fort Worthology

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Posted 27 March 2013 - 09:21 AM

And I may be wrong, but aren't the condos on the short section of the building and not the tower? If so, I would hardly call that highrise living. 

 

The lower section of the building is the hotel.  The tower is the condos.



#91 eastfwther

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Posted 27 March 2013 - 09:25 AM

And I may be wrong, but aren't the condos on the short section of the building and not the tower? If so, I would hardly call that highrise living. 

 

The lower section of the building is the hotel.  The tower is the condos.

Thank you, I corrected my post.  How many condos are there and how many have sold?  Do you know?



#92 Fort Worthology

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Posted 27 March 2013 - 09:49 AM

At one point, I remember that they said it was going to have 97 condos, but I don't remember if that was the final number or not.  I have no info on how many have sold.

 

I would also like to see more rental living space downtown - apartment occupancy throughout the central city is always crazy high.



#93 ramjet

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Posted 27 March 2013 - 10:28 AM

The Tarrant Appraisal District database indicates that the Omni has 86 units.  I don't know how current the data is but the database also indicates that 33 of those units appear not to be owned by the developer, in other words they appear sold.  In my condo complex near downtown Austin, it began sales about the time of downturn in 2008/2009 (I think the Omni did, too).  We've been about half empty until just in the last few months.  Sales are flying now and we are about full according to the HOA.  (I liked it better when it was more empty.)  Meanwhile, demand for and construction of rentals in downtown Austin has exploded.  Two rental complexes are being built on either side of me, but they are being built to condo specs.  Real estate gurus I know say they are preparing for the next big thing in the cycle - demand for condos - again!  All that to say, I've seen a lot of rental construction in Fort Worth on my visits.  Just not on high rise rentals.  It's not for everyone.  Especially Texans.  As a gross generality, Texans like their space, and proximity to their cars.  In my amateur real estate opinion, Fort Worth needs another hotel downtown.  I often find availability tight and rooms expensive downtown when I come visit.



#94 eastfwther

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Posted 27 March 2013 - 10:33 AM

At one point, I remember that they said it was going to have 97 condos, but I don't remember if that was the final number or not.  I have no info on how many have sold.

 

I would also like to see more rental living space downtown - apartment occupancy throughout the central city is always crazy high.

Last I heard was around summertime and it was 29 sold, so around 33 (Ramjet) may be right. Whether 86 or 97 units, that's a lot of unsold condos. 



#95 Dismuke

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Posted 27 March 2013 - 05:56 PM

 Unless you wear a tinfoil hat and believe that there's some smoky, back room conspiracy where guys with with cigars and brandy sniffers plot their next move in the battle against high rise construction.

 

Actually, that smoky back room thing you mention is how it happens.  But it is not a conspiracy because it's not a bunch of guys with cigars and brandy - it's just one guy.

 

He's that mystical goblin who says NO! whenever you wish for something and don't get it.  He says NO! and beats you down just to be mean - and because he can.

 

If it weren't for him, all the people who have wished for a bigger Fort Worth skyline would have been granted their wish a long time ago - and Fort Worth's skyline would put Manhattan's to shame.  But he says NO!   And when people like you and me talk about things such as economics and return on investment - that means that we are just taking His side and offering rationalizations on His behalf.  That means that you and I are mean too and don't care about Fort Worth.  If we cared about Fort Worth we would be wishing for more skyscrapers too - and we would want to stick it to Him and not take His side.

 

Who am I talking about?  I am sure you have heard his name before.  His name:  "The Man."


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#96 renamerusk

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Posted 28 March 2013 - 12:14 AM

.... I just think it's silly to suggest that Fort Worth is "doing it wrong" because there's not a 800 foot skyscraper going up on every corner.  When it becomes profitable for the developers to go up, it will happen.  It really isn't much more complicated than that.  Unless you wear a tinfoil hat and believe that there's some smoky, back room conspiracy where guys with with cigars and brandy sniffers plot their next move in the battle against high rise construction.  And I've made my feelings on those theories known.

 

Actually, that smoky back room thing you mention is how it happens.  But it is not a conspiracy because it's not a bunch of guys with cigars and brandy - it's just one guy.....He's that mystical goblin who says NO! whenever you wish for something and don't get it.  He says NO! and beats you down just to be mean - and because he can..... But he says NO!   And when people like you and me talk about things such as economics and return on investment - that means that we are just taking His side and offering rationalizations on His behalf....

 

Who am I talking about?  I am sure you have heard his name before.  His name:  "The Man."

 

Philosophically, perhaps you don’t understand the accounting concept of depreciation – which is to say, cost allocation over time.  Lifted the following excerpt text from a discussion of skyscraper profitability after seeking an answer from a question I posed: “When is it profitable for a skyscraper to be built?”:

 

Even a big huge billion dollar skyscraper or factory could be profitable almost immediately –however long it takes a lot of tenants to move in or the factory to ramp up production.  That doesn’t mean the owners have already collected a billion dollars in leasing revenue up front.  But the cost of building (or buying) the skyscraper is not accounted for all at once.  By accounting rules, the cost is allocated a little at a time, month after month over decades.  Maybe the depreciation cost for that building for this month is only $10 millions.  So if the owners only manage to make $11 million per month leasing the offices, they are handsomely profitable.

 

It will be decades before they’ve recovered the full capital expense of building the skyscraper, but that’s OK because they’re profitable immediately thanks to depreciation.  Profit is based on matching ongoing monthly revenues against ongoing expenses – not non-recurring capital outlays.

 

In short, you would not want an accounting system that punishes businesses for making investments, by forcing them to account huge losses every time they build a building.  Therefore, for hundreds of years, accounting has recognized the need for, and the economic sensibleness of, cost allocation of capital expenditures over time (depreciation).

 

To which added, the larger a building, the more tenants it can have, and the more money in monthly leases the owner receives.  Obviously, big commercial buildings can generate enormous amounts of leasing revenues, or else they would not be built.

 

If not the “Man” or the Smokey Cigar Gang, then is it conceivable that Fort Worth just practices a different kind of accounting than Dallas, Austin, Houston or Oklahoma City; and or we just smarter than them when it comes to bookkeeping?  Gentlemen - once again – when will that time be, as you so assert, for a large skyscraper to be built in downtown Fort Worth?

 

I'll stick with my conspiracy - The "Tin Foil Hatter"



#97 Dismuke

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Posted 28 March 2013 - 07:02 PM

Sure, one can depreciate assets over time.  But that still doesn't change the fundamentals involved.  And those who own skyscrapers in Austin and Dallas operate using the same rules of accounting that those in Fort Worth and anyplace else in the US use.  So it is not like the rules of accounting give proposed projects in Fort Worth any special advantage.

 

The bottom line fundamental issue here is that, regardless of how many years one spreads the depreciation, someone has to come up with and fork over the considerable cost of building a skyscraper up front.   The construction workers who put the building up want and need to be paid for their time and effort in the here and how - not between now and when their kids graduate.  The same goes for the architect who designs the building and the various vendors who supply the glass, steel, concrete, plumbing fixtures, etc.

 

There are all sorts of would-be developers who would be thrilled to build a skyscraper in downtown Fort Worth and would jump at the chance if they could.   The problem is finding investors and raising the necessary money.  For more details on that, talk with Ken Schaumburg sometime.

 

Raising substantial amounts of money for any endeavor is hard - ask someone who has tried.

 

Those with money to invest naturally and logically gravitate towards investments that offer the greatest possible return at he lowest possible risk.   Of course, the rub is that investments which are low risk usually offer low returns.  And, to the degree an investment is perceived as being risky, the only reason a knowledgeable investor would even look at it is if it had the potential to result in a return high enough to make the risk worthwhile    Thus people with money to invest - be it a blue collar worker putting money in his 401k for his retirement or a high profile professional investor - seek out some balance or risk/return that is right for their particular goals and comfort level.

 

The people who front the money needed to erect a skyscraper do so based on the anticipation of receiving a certain rate of return over a certain period of time.   And to be competitive in terms of raising capital, it is not enough for a venture such as a skyscraper to merely be profitable and offer a likely rate of return -  it has to offer a better likely rate of return than do other ventures of comparable risk that are competing for the same investment capital.

 

Thus if those who are looking to invest their money in high rise buildings have reason to believe that they will get a higher rate of return for the same or less risk by investing in a project in Austin or Dallas instead of Fort Worth  - then the projects in Austin and Dallas will attract funding before the project in Fort Worth does.   Perhaps there is reason to believe a proposed project in Fort Worth will be profitable.  But it doesn't matter if the very same people who are being approached to fund it have reason to believe a similar project elsewhere will be more profitable.

 

And the competition for investors doesn't stop with rival developments in other cities.  People with money to invest do not have to invest in real estate - and many are quite adverse to it.   In this day and age, the flow of capital is very fluid and can take place with the click of a mouse.   A proposed skyscraper in Fort Worth competes for funding not only with proposed skyscrapers in other cities in the USA and abroad, it competes with the stock market,  it competes with technology firms looking to expand, it competes with small start ups seeking venture capital and it competes with governments in various countries and on various levels here in the USA that sell bonds - in some cases with certain tax advantages.

 

One can come up with a virtually unlimited number of proposed projects in this world that would be really wonderful if only they could be funded and brought into fruition.  But very few of them ever will get funded -  because there is only a finite amount of capital in this world to fund them.   And in the end, there is only one source of capital:  people who consume less than they produce and who, therefore, have a surplus.  Most people on this planet struggle to produce enough just to keep themselves alive.  And most people who produce more than that choose to spend all or most of it on lifestyle things such as cable TV, big screen televisions, movie tickets, vacations, attractive housing etc.   It is from those who are left - those who don't spend everything they take in - that all capital comes from.   And there is only so many of those people and each of them only has a finite amount of money.   As I previously mentioned, trying to raise a substantial amount of money for anything is hard.

 

This is true even for companies that might consider building a skyscraper for use as their own headquarters.  They have to weigh the benefits of building the skyscraper against all of the other aspects of their business competing for the same limited capital - things like new plants and equipment, research and development, new stores and the remodeling of existing stores, employee benefits etc.  And if the company is publicly traded the decision has to be justified to shareholders.

 

That's why people aren't rushing to build as many skyscrapers downtown as you would like to see.

 

And if what I have written doesn't sound convincing - well, here is a chance for you to prove me wrong:

 

Go find Ken Schaumburg or some similar developer and make him an offer:  Come up with a proposal for whatever size downtown skyscraper you think is needed and viable and ask him if he would be willing to build it if you could raise the necessary money.   I guarantee you if you come up with the money, he will gladly build it for you.  Then go out and do just that.  If it is as simple as you say - then you should be successful, especially given your degree of passion and enthusiasm.   And if you think investors in Fort Worth are too foolish to know a good thing when they see it - find investors in another city or even in another country.  In today's globalized economy capital flows across national borders at the same speed as do your emails.   If what you are pitching is really as good a deal as you suggest - then there is going to be someone out there with access to money who is smart enough to see that you are right.  Go find that person - and, in return, you will not only get your skyscraper and prove myself and others wrong, you will be legitimately be entitled to compensate yourself handsomely for your time and effort in raising the money.

 

if you did so - my strong guess is that you will soon discover that it is difficult enough to raise the money needed to build a corner gas station or a dinky two story professional building, let alone a skyscraper.


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#98 renamerusk

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Posted 28 March 2013 - 10:35 PM

Sure, one can depreciate assets over time.  But that still doesn't change the fundamentals involved.....So it is not like the rules of accounting give proposed projects in Fort Worth any special advantage.

Thus if those who are looking to invest their money in high rise buildings have reason to believe that they will get a higher rate of return for the same or less risk by investing in a project in Austin or Dallas instead of Fort Worth  - then the projects in Austin and Dallas will attract funding before the project in Fort Worth does.   Perhaps there is reason to believe a proposed project in Fort Worth will be profitable. 

 

But it doesn't matter if the very same people who are being approached to fund it have reason to believe a similar project elsewhere will be more profitable....

 

And if what I have written doesn't sound convincing - well, here is a chance for you to prove me wrong:

 

But wait, Loopnet.com, a prominent national firm that collects and analyses real estate market trends at both the state and local levels reported for 2012 the following data:

 

Office Space Asking Lease Rate (OSALR) -- Texas: $15.90 sf.; Dallas: $15.23 and Fort Worth: $16.09

 

Remembering, profitability is a function of both the amount of annual depreciation and the amount of revenue (rents) minus expenses; not upfront capital expenditures.  Like a home, buildings are flipped and sold all the time, generally providing the seller with gigantic equity. Don't have the numbers on hand, but my guess is that the valuation of both City Center Towers today would easily exceed the upfront costs and that does not include the depreciation that its owner has realized over the past three and more decades.

 

Downtown Fort Worth ranks among the highest if not the highest in rates of Class A + B occupancy in the state and certainly in the metroplex.  Controlling for expenses, a 1,000,000 sf office building in Fort Worth would have the potential to earn rents in the total amount of $16,090,000 and even higher at the highest floors while an identical office building in Dallas or the state as a whole would have the potential to earn rents totaling $15,230,000; the Fort Worth building would realized a net surplus of $860,000.

 

It is clear that if a speculative office building in Dallas can be thought to be profitable, then logic would suggest that an identical building should be equally or even more a profitable certainty in Fort Worth; that is unless the “Man” has his way!

 

(1) So yes, it should not give Fort Worth any special advantage or should Fort Worth be given a     disadvantage.

(2) Yes, there is a perceived risk in a town that is view to be monopolyized

(3) On the contrary, data shows that Fort Worth is or can be as profitable as any city in Texas

(4) With data which supports Fort Worth v. Texas(Dallas, Austin,Houston)



#99 eastfwther

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Posted 29 March 2013 - 06:06 AM

^

All true, but I would still argue that Fort Worth has high occupancy because it has little office space for a city its size.  Do you think it's really a fair comparison to compare Fort Worth to other large Texas cities? Much less other cities in the the country.  When Fort Worth brags about it's office occupancy compared to, let's say Dallas or Houston, once you see the skylines of the cities, any comparison seems moot.  There are office submarkets here in the metroplex that have almost as much (and maybe more, Las Colinas, Utptown Dallas) as DTFW.  I just don't think DTFW is a real player in the office market here.  If it was, you would see real momentum.  Yet everytime you read about any big expansion in Fort Worth, it's almost always industrial in nature, not office.  Alliance just announced 1.2 million sq feet of more industrial space. Yet an article in the DMN yesterday about the rebounding DFW office market never even mentioned Fort Worth, everything was on the Dallas side. I love Fort Worth, so I'm not bashing it.  I just don't think our city is in the office space buisiness, but I'll be more than happy to be proven wrong.  Let's face it, every city would have a strong occupancy rate if it leased up its downtown office buildings then never added anything (sizable) to the market.



#100 Dismuke

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Posted 29 March 2013 - 06:21 AM

Well, Rename, it sounds to me like you have some ammunition to make your case for raising the money to build the skyscraper you want to see put up. So take me up on my suggestion and prove me wrong by just going out and raising the money for someone to put up such a skyscraper. Basically what you have been suggesting throughout this thread is that the people who invest in skyscrapers are either uninformed, don't know what is best for them, are stupid or have some evil ax to grind against Fort Worth. Even if those with an ax to grind against Fort Worth actually exist (which I seriously doubt), there is little they can do to stop someone from out to town who does not have such a grudge from coming in and putting one up. It is one thing to say "somebody ought to....." Well, YOU be that somebody. I grant that there might be a bit of a learning curve and some research you might need to do to figure out who and what sort of people you might need to approach. But if you are smart enough to dig up the data you quoted in your previous post, you are smart enough to do the research on what steps to take to raise capital. And, keep in mind, if you are successful, you will be handsomely compensated for your time and effort - people who do that sort of thing for a living get commissions which make them well-paid. Arguing your case here won't do much good - when it comes to the kind of money needed to build a skyscraper, I don't have two nickels to rub together and neither, I suspect, do most people here. But if it is all as simple as you suggest - if it is so clear and obvious that new skyscrapers in Fort Worth ought to be built - you should have a very easy time at it.
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