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Member Since 25 Dec 2012
Offline Last Active Jul 04 2017 01:46 PM

#103953 XTO Energy moving 1,600 employees to The Woodlands, selling six of seven buil...

Posted by austlar1 on 26 June 2017 - 01:09 PM

Seems to me the biggest associated with the loss of XTO HQ is the fact that 1,600 locals earning presumably decent incomes and working in downtown Fort Worth will soon be gone. There will probably be additional job losses downtown owing to a reduced need for allied business services. This is could have a negative impact on the downtown real estate market for condos and town homes. Hotel business (surely XTO attracted considerable business travel to Fort Worth) is likely to take a hit. The XTO office buildings might prove to be a difficult sell to new business tenants. I know they have been modernized, but I suspect that they are still rather eccentric by modern office building standards. Hotel and condo conversion might be just the ticket for some of the buildings, but first there has to be a demand for the product. Downtown Fort Worth needs to find a way to become a more desirable place for corporate tenants both large and small. The Dallas side of the metroplex has become so sprawled out and developed with major corporate relocations. It seems to me that it is time for downtown Fort Worth to make a sustained effort to tap into that momentum. I sincerely hope that the Fort Worth plutocracy will endorse those efforts and use their considerable influence to help attract new business relocations (corporate HQ or regional HQ) to downtown Fort Worth. Tourism is all well and good, but it does not provide for lots of high paying jobs that can help sustain the development of new housing and office development in downtown.

#93278 Forest Park Zoo?

Posted by austlar1 on 01 September 2015 - 06:05 PM

I grew up in a house on Winton Terrace East. It was directly above the exhibits that housed elephants and giraffes. You could actually see giraffes eating leaves off of tree branches from my parents' second floor bedroom. My father, who liked to sleep with windows open, used to complain to the zoo about the smell of the elephants! We also always just called it "the zoo" or sometimes the Forest Park Zoo. There was no official entrance to the zoo as best I can recall. The main road into the park from Forest Park Blvd. was Park Place where the gates still stand. People parked in parking lots by the amusement park and walked into the zoo from there. There were three or four other roads that entered into the park. One was further south on Forest Park Blvd. Another was just off of Winton Terrace East inside of the Park Hill subdivision. It came down near the old tennis courts and just south of the 1950s era zoo. There was another entrance off of University Drive that went into the park. There used to be a WPA era staircase going up to Winton Terrace from the main part of the zoo near the lions, tigers, etc. The zoo was not fenced off for most of my childhood. The little amusement park to the east of the zoo between the zoo and the swimming pool had no roller coaster when I was a child. There was a nice enclosed Ferris Wheel and a lovely carousel. You could hear music from the carousel and noise from the animals all over my old neighborhood. We had a front row seat for Pete the Python, and the hillside above the zoo was a playground for kids in Park Hill of that era.

#75591 The Sanger Building

Posted by austlar1 on 26 February 2013 - 08:27 PM

The old Meachams store in the building at 5th and Houston had a really beautiful ground floor and mezzanine that was done in a late-moderne style with lots of blond wood.  The architect was the same person who did the post-fire 1948 re-do of the main sanctuary at the old Temple Beth El on Broadway.  Both interiors used lots of blond wood and indirect lighting to achieve a very elegant effect.  Meacham's was the most fashionable purveyor of womens clothing in Fort Worth up until the arrival of Neiman Marcus.  Neiman's essentially ate Meacham's lunch and put them out of business.

#74725 New City Hall Site

Posted by austlar1 on 23 January 2013 - 07:33 PM

Isn't the real problem with the T and P warehouse building the fact that the ceilings are so low on most floors and the floors are made of very thick concrete?  That was always my understanding.  What is the average ceiling height in the upper floors of this building?  Are all the floors concrete? 

#74388 Fort Worth influence on new Vegas performing arts venue

Posted by austlar1 on 10 January 2013 - 02:17 PM

I think that, more than some architects, just about all of David Schwarz's important buildings are a hybrid based on previous designs. His buildings tend to be easily identifiable. Bass Performance Hall seems to be a building where the David Schwarz "look" solidified.  I don't know the progression of his work, but Bass Performance Hall has jewel box characteristics that he continues to bring to the table in later designs.  Nobody ever accused David Schwarz of being original, but his pseudo historical style has certainly become distinctive. Since his major projects tend to be concert halls, stadiums, and arenas, I suspect that his reputation will endure over time because the buildings are likely to endure.  Will there be a hue and cry somewhere down the line when a "David Schwarz landmark" is threatened with demolition?  Probably so.

#74382 Fort Worth influence on new Vegas performing arts venue

Posted by austlar1 on 09 January 2013 - 11:48 PM

Yes, I think there should be a Hotel Fort Worth, Fort Worth in Vegas next to the Smith Center. 


I guess I missed your earlier post, renamerusk. Fort Worth has been a powerful influence on Mr. Schwarz.  He has certainly come a long way over the years. He has become the go-to guy for traditional concert halls and performing arts centers.  I lived in DC back in the 80s when some of his first projects got built up there.  I even spent an evening in his home in DC being entertained by his houseman, a friend of mine. The houseman, a fellow named Brad Laux who is now deceased, threw a big dinner party in Schwarz's palatial Kalorama town house while the great man was away in Fort Worth working on one of his early Bass commissions. We were given an extensive tour of the house, and I especially remember the huge master bedroom closet that was filled with a variety of men's slippers. We were told that Mr. Schwarz never wore socks and was very particular about his slippers.  I remember feeling that we were invading Schwarz's privacy, but I now delight in telling this tale.