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Member Since 08 May 2004
Offline Last Active Jan 08 2018 11:22 PM

#108239 Frost Tower - Jetta Operating to Build Downtown Office Building

Posted by Urbndwlr on 08 January 2018 - 10:28 PM

Was Frost Bank's sign not included when it went through design review? 

In other words, is it possible it has already been approved?    When did the new sign ordinance in Downtown begin - think was recently right?


I'm with Rename - I don't get the hyper-concern about building signage.   IMO, I think the tight design scrutiny for Downtown (and other) development should focus attention on form, general architecture, and how the buildings meet the street.  There are several recent projects such as the XTO garage that seem to have passed through the review process but could have used more design tweaks to make them better.


Also, Rename - I searched and could not find a photo of the downtown Austin Wework sign on the building.  Is it on a highrise (over 120')? 

#107286 New Hotel at 9th and Commerce

Posted by Urbndwlr on 14 November 2017 - 09:05 AM

John, what is the standard for architecturally significant? 


Sometimes it seems that can be better judged after 20 years, when we have time to see if the building is a quality representative of the design of the period. 


If I were just judging the architecture, I;d call it inoffensive -- it "does no harm".  So if our standards are modest, then yes, its "significant", IMO.

#107241 The Worth Residences (24 floors)

Posted by Urbndwlr on 10 November 2017 - 02:47 PM


I recognize the type font...seriously, what percentage of condo buyers, do you think, purchase these units for vacation, rental, or as an investment?  Is this also part of a time-share practice?


 If you take Austin, Texas for example, a large percentage of condo and apartments are purchased by well heeled investors as tax shelters and income generators.   Investors are driving the boom of condo and apartments development in Austin. Of course, Austin has a vibrant tourist, conference and convention market, something that Fort Worth does not have at this time.


However, the tax structure could make investments in Fort Worth's relatively inexpensive real estate market a draw for out of town investors to enter our market as U.S. and Texas in particular are seen as a safe and favorable tax jurisdictions for national and international investors.


My hunch is that WR is more "dipping its toe in the water" and aiming at investors who are looking for new opportunities than it is their looking at the City's traditional housing market.


I think you are correct.  There seems to have been a lot of investor buying of condos, mostly in "gateway" markets such as LA, NY, and MIA but apparently some in Texas too.

So long as the condo regime doesn't limit renting to tenants (as some do) that seems like a logical financial structure:  you buy a condo, plan to rent it out for an income stream.  Seems to be the tradition in New York, so why not here?

#106764 County hospital bond election

Posted by Urbndwlr on 19 October 2017 - 05:18 PM

Interesting that the community panel put together to assess this recognized such a strong need for psych needs. 

I only read the Star Telegram article - have no additional knowledge of this but it appears they came away from their study with a pretty resounding conclusion that Tarrant County needs this.


Also note the mention about how many citizens will need to be informed about this since are not currently aware of the need.  (Including me)

#106707 West 7th Development

Posted by Urbndwlr on 18 October 2017 - 02:12 PM


5) a public parking garage (at Farrington Field perhaps)  but also maybe in a future office building that could make some available on nights and weekends. 


Yes! What if there were a TIF over the area that paid for the operation costs of building a garage?


There needs to be one in the back corner where the employees of the warehouses park. Something simple, 3 stories open 24/7.


Fort Worthains have definitely become accustomed to subsidized parking. 

Probably because of the legacy of the subsidized parking in Downtown, people seem to expect that they can park in any open garage and not pay for it in other dense neighborhoods.  This neighborhoood tried to get a TIF years ago and it was not successful. 


So, unfortunately, it seems the property owners simply have to defend their lots and garages against people parking in/on them and going to other places.  It doesn't seem very neighborly, but unfortunately it has gone beyond a few cars here and there, and is abusive to those property owners.

If you own a building and have paid

for the land and/or garage, and pay the property taxes, insurance, maintenance, etc for YOUR tenants, and then your neighbors did not pay to provide parking nearby, is it fair for most of your neighbors' customers use your garage or lot free of charge?  This is happening with the bars, in particular Varsity and the others on Morton and Bledsoe.   


IMO, we all need to get in the habit of using Uber/Lyft/taxis when they go out in the evenings.  Its smart for a number of reasons (is cheaper than a DUI, we won't kill anyone driving drunk, eliminates our risk of getting towed...)  I prefer it b/c don't have to stress about the ABV of each of my beers and how many I've had per hour....

#106706 Residence Inn at "Houston and 8th"

Posted by Urbndwlr on 18 October 2017 - 02:05 PM


The building will be 50 feet wide, 95 feet long, and approximately 275 feet tall.

I'll get that on SketchUp when I get back home.


Jeriat, are you going to model the building's massing so we can see how it will look as proposed? 

I'm curious if it would be visible from the most common perspectives or angles of the skyline (west from Amon Carter, east from Gateway Park).  From west Burnett Plaza might block it. 



Regarding height, I don't know how John got to the 275' number but its worth pointing out that hotels tend to have really short floor to floor heights, so a 25 story hotel will be shorter than a 25 story office building.


I am also a little sad they have chosen a site where an existing building is that could be renovated.  Would prefer to see it take the place of a surface parking lot.  Understandably, they probably want it to be walkable within the Downtown core and to the Convention Center, and potentially (as suggested by another Forum member in another thread) some land owners might not be sellers at the moment. 


John (or any other architect): is there a name for the current design trend of the offset window patterns?  It is definitely what is happening in facade design today. 

I don't have a problem with that but do think the design could be refined and improved a little with some tweaks. 


I do like the idea of a really slim building, as it won't block out much natural light to the street, but gets some good density with really small footprint.  I do wonder where they'll have a valet garage.  Not sure what's available to them close by, as some guests will certainly arrive by car.

#106646 Adding More Hotels Downtown

Posted by Urbndwlr on 16 October 2017 - 02:34 PM

Only concern about the limited service hotels going in is that they could dilute the market a little, making the feasibility harder for a larger, convention-type hotel (500+ rooms with lots of meeting/conv space) from developing in the near term.  According to the CVB those larger properties actually go out and recruit meetings and groups whereas the smaller ones simply respond to demand that is existing.  And, the limited service brands really aren't very inspiring hotels that would cause someone to go out of their way to stay there. 


I'm not suggesting FW attempt to actively intervene in preventing the development of limited service hotels (its their right to develop the limited service hotels) other than ensuring their design is good).  


Possible exceptions are the Sinclair (Marriott Autograph) and the AC Hotel. 

#106645 West 7th Development

Posted by Urbndwlr on 16 October 2017 - 02:30 PM

1) Make it really easy and comfortable to walk everywhere.  Priorities are between residences and street-level commercial.

a) Crosswalks at every intersection

b ) wide sidewalks (7 feet clear with some occasional exceptions)

c) street trees b/w sidewalk and curb

d) street lights (not sure the name but the type they installed in the Crockett Row and So7 projects


2) More, different types of hotels.  (especially interesting leisure traveler oriented hotels) 

3) A lot more residential density. 

4) More office density. 

5) a public parking garage (at Farrington Field perhaps)  but also maybe in a future office building that could make some available on nights and weekends. 

#105656 City Place Complex

Posted by Urbndwlr on 10 September 2017 - 10:04 PM

What is the obsession with forbidding any signage up on buildings?

Sundance appears to feel strongly that its a bad idea - any reason why?  Perhaps just a preference for no bold logos? 

I know people have posted widely varying opinions on the FW Forum, some expressing the preference for a cleaner skyline, free from clutter, and, on the other hand, the bright energy that more aggressive signage and lighting would offer.


To me it seems that it really depends on the sign and the building.  If we're talking about a random colored blob awkwardly bolted onto a building in a place where it doesn't fit or work with the architecture, then it would look clunky and bad.  If it is correctly scaled, and fits with the building design in a graceful fashion, (seems like it is part of the architecture), then I don't see the big deal. 


Frankly the graphics of the logo would matter too.  When driving east to west on I-30 through downtown recently at night I noticed the blue light from the new ATT logo and I liked the addition of a small splash of color. 


The wework sign looks pretty appropriate in scale.  Would it look better if it were 1-2 floors lower?  What I don't understand about the "gateway drug" metaphor is: does that mean that once the wework sign goes up, does that building forever have the right to have a sign in that spot, so the City/Downtown FW/DDRB lose control of controlling that design in the future?  If they allow it, does that mean they have to use similar judgment in future signage applications? 


Frost is getting one right?  I might have missed but how did that happen?  Just made an exception? 


Some buildings that I think would not look good with signage up on the building: 

- City Center 1&2

- Burnette Plaza

- 500 W. 7th Street

- Omni Hotel (up on glass) - already exists on lower part.

#105564 901 Commerce St. - High-rise Mixed Use

Posted by Urbndwlr on 08 September 2017 - 01:31 PM

I'm glad to see this proposal from a company that appears to be strong and capable of good design.

I'm happy about it because I (like many forum participants) believe the urban core will continue to improve as it gains stronger residential density.


The thing that has come to mind with this proposal is: with our small blocks (200x200), developers pretty much have to max out the site to make numbers work.  When the build right up to the street, and over 250 feet tall, does that create a canyon effect?  


Many cities have required step backs up higher to allow more natural light in.  I dont think we're at serious risk of this becoming an epidemic soon, but this case has caused me to think about whether at some point in the next few years or so the City/Downtown FW Inc needs to take a look at whether those kinds of things are encouraged in some way, over a certain height. 


If the building is really thin, it is likely impossible - and we all I think agree that we want Downtown to continue to grow in density and both office and residential population. 



Came across these stats last night - thought I'd share: 

Downtown Fort Worth (76102) Residential population.  Rent Cafe says 76102 has 9,377 residents, averaging 1.82/household.  (3467 households). 

Didnt see density per acre but its not very high b/c of all the railroad/street/commercial/institutional uses.  Point is there is a LONG way to go for 76102 to rival 76107 or 76110 in residential density.  (using zip codes of course, not neighborhoods)


Think we have about 2,000 units in pipeline for downtown 2018-2020, right?  (my very rough recollection)

If so would mean Downtown Fort Worth should have about 5,500 households, and about 11,500 residents by 2020/2021. 


Note - not sure if that includes the houses over near I-35. 

#104651 Another potential Rosedale Apartment

Posted by Urbndwlr on 02 August 2017 - 09:53 PM

Perhaps Vue du poulet


Joking aside, that's probably going to be a great location as the neighborhood continues to fill in. 

#104649 1007 South Main

Posted by Urbndwlr on 02 August 2017 - 09:46 PM

My favorite part of that building is the south wall, which is painted dark blue and has a sort of celestial pattern of glass block.  Is kind of cool.  I don't mind the overall design. There is a lot going on in a small space but real test will be how it ages and evolves once tenants move in and perhaps modify windows, entrances, add signage, etc. 


I didn't catch who architect is for this project.  Anyone know?

#104648 Nice looking Benbrook strip center

Posted by Urbndwlr on 02 August 2017 - 09:37 PM

True.  Given the location, that appears much better designed than what one might have expected.  Google Streetview shows a Steve Hawkins sign.  That is, by far, better looking (IMO) than anything I've seen with a Steve Hawkins sign in front (I assume they are the developer) so I hope this is a sign of newer, better looking buildings to come from that company.


And good for Benbrook.  Almost (not really) makes up for the removal of the only historic building on 377, replaced by a QT I think, a few years back. 

#104516 Museum Place

Posted by Urbndwlr on 27 July 2017 - 01:12 PM

This particular property is an extremely important and impactful location (Camp Bowie at Van Cliburn) to the city as whole. 

The City is being asked to provide millions of dollars in incentives to help this project.  That gives us, as the public, the right to reasonably demand that this design is very good to excellent.  This building will stand for 100+ years probably and we all deserve for it not to be a very mediocre design (as is the current design) that has not done everything it can to be compatible with its surroundings.

If this were in a different location, say outside the city center, it would probably be a fine design.  But this site is different.  The Cultural District is different. A ton of private and public money has been invested to make the Cultural District excellent and this project, as designed, would damage that value. 


At first when I read about this I also though "great! build it as large as you can!" and then started reading and considering what the Kimbell (and other museums and generally Cultural District people) were saying and realized they are dead right that that design (both the height and the architecture) need revision. 


All I hear and read suggests that EVERYONE wants a hotel there.  And have said they also want a quality, full service hotel.  They appear to simply be asking that the building design gets rearranged to be better.  (I AGREE!!)  This happens all the time with proposed projects around the city, particularly Downtown and on the Near Southside.  The developer brings in their early designs, the committees/boards give comments and they work it out to some agreement with the developer, city, and district. 


Changes that I think would make this better and probably good enough:

1) The big glass wall in the center of the building should go away (looks like suburban 1990s office design)

2) the silly green (fake copper?) thing should disappear,

3) the big blank box on Van Cliburn Way needs to get some windows -  blank walls do not belong on the sidewalks!  

4) Regarding the height, why don't they just make it wider and not as tall, getting the same size building?   I'm not an architect but think that should be possible. 


Anyway, I've said a number of times here I feel we badly need more good and interesting hotel rooms in the Cultural District so I am also someone who wants to see this happen, but ONLY IF THE DESIGN IS MUCH BETTER.   If the choice is a bad design vs waiting a few years for a good design, I would wait. 


Side note:  21C has been expanding nation wide.  Why in the heck are they not one of the hotel groups building around here?  (hopefully in addition to Renovo)

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#104369 Hyatt House

Posted by Urbndwlr on 23 July 2017 - 07:29 PM

The design shown of the Fort Worth project is unfortunately way inferior to what Presidio Companies has built or owns (Sacramento Centric City - the new portion) and the ones that the architect has designed.  From the architect's web site it appears they are capable of good design but this design REALLY needs change.