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Oncor/Old Electric Building Getting Revamp

Downtown Fort Worth National Bank Remodel

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#1 RD Milhollin

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Posted 23 May 2009 - 09:17 AM

Good idea! It would be great for 7th Street to be restored to the level of vitality it had when the theaters and the Worth Hotel were in their prime (bring back the Hollywood!). Once this project is finished maybe the developers could come up with a plan for the ground floor of the ATT Building.

http://www.star-tele...ry/1392060.html
Posted on Fri, May. 22, 2009

Oncor Building in Downtown Fort Worth Will Be Getting Face-Lift

By SANDRA BAKERsabaker@star-telegram.com

The owners of downtown Fort Worth’s Oncor Building are working through final designs to renovate the ground floor of the 16-story office tower for restaurants and shops, a project they want to start this fall.

In 2007, an affiliate of White Plains, N.Y.-based Benbrooke Realty Investment Co. bought the property at the southeast corner of Seventh and Main streets. At that time, Benbrooke said it wanted to make improvements to the structure, once called the Electric Services Building.

Those plans were announced Friday when the owners also said Oncor Electric Delivery, the main tenant, renewed a long-term lease for 200,000 square feet. The 300,000-square-foot building is about 88 percent occupied, said Michael Oestreich, a Benbrooke principal.

Oncor, he said, "made a substantial commitment to downtown Fort Worth."

Theron Bryant, a broker with Arlington-based SCM Realty, which is handling leasing of the building’s office space, said the renewal is a big gain for the downtown office market.

"In this situation, we were very fortunate," Bryant said.

The building, constructed in 1952, has an extensive presence on Seventh, Main and Houston streets.

The owners want to complete the project by summer 2010. For now, work to the building’s exterior, which involves putting in new floor-to-ceiling windows and canopies and new cladding, will be completed "to create a new dramatic streetscape," the company said.

The 22,000 square feet on the ground floor, now mostly lobby, will be finished as tenants are signed, Oestreich said.

Pretium Property Management, a Benbrooke affiliate, will oversee construction. Oestreich and Craig Gutow, a principal in Benbrooke’s Dallas office, will handle marketing and leasing of the retail space.

Benbrooke Realty has operated in the Dallas-Fort Worth area since 1992. It owns, develops and operates office buildings and shopping centers in Texas and 10 eastern states.

Oestreich, Bryant and George Ackerman, a Benbrooke principal, handled lease negotiations. Mark O’Donnell of Studley represented Oncor.

SANDRA BAKER, 817-390-7727



#2 John T Roberts

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Posted 24 May 2009 - 09:44 AM

It is a good idea to allow the building to have more retail and restaurant tenants, but I think it is a bad idea to remodel the exterior to the extent that the renderings show. This is already a potential historic designation status building candidate. We may be looking at this building in 20-30 years thinking the same thing we thought about the Baker/Simpson Building across the street before it was restored.

#3 cbellomy

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Posted 24 May 2009 - 05:17 PM

John's exactly right. I don't like this building, but I am also now the same age as the folks who altered the bases of our favorite 1920s buildings -- FNB/Baker/Simpson, The Fair/Commerce, 714 Main, etc. This building needs to be protected from people like me who for whatever reason are the wrong age to understand it.

#4 Fort Worthology

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Posted 25 May 2009 - 06:42 AM

I get that - but a base with retail is better than the current base. I'll take slightly altered architecture for vastly better urbanism in this instance.

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#5 John T Roberts

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Posted 25 May 2009 - 03:38 PM

I'm all for more ground floor retail. There are ways to add doors, lower the windows, and do other things to make the building more pedestrian friendly without radically altering the base itself. Maybe when the DDRB reviews the case, they will only allow a minimal amount of work to be done on the exterior of the building. I know a lot of people don't regard Mid-Century Modern as architecture worth saving, but we should try to preserve these buildings with as much interest as we have with the late 1800's and early 1900's structures.

#6 RD Milhollin

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Posted 02 October 2011 - 11:12 PM

Looks like Capital Grille is moving into the ground floor of the Oncor Building. The entrance will be on the Houston Street side, may be a convenience store like 7-11 next door to the restaurant, perhaps on the corner.

http://www.thecapitalgrille.com/

Looks like a fine restaurant, sit down service, tablecloths, etc. The menu page seems to really stress the aged beef, but there are a lot of high-end steakhouses within easy walking distance. Hopefully they will offer enough seafood and other culinary specialties to provide some diversity in the high-end downtown market.

More info from the developer:

http://www.oncorbuilding.com/retail/

#7 ramjet

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Posted 03 October 2011 - 01:25 PM

Am I wrong, or did this building used to also house the Fort Worth National Bank at one time?

#8 RD Milhollin

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Posted 03 October 2011 - 10:32 PM

Am I wrong, or did this building used to also house the Fort Worth National Bank at one time?


That is what it was originally built as.

#9 John T Roberts

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Posted 04 October 2011 - 07:16 AM

I have a problem with this remodel. They are taking a perfectly good Mid-Century Modern building and altering the base. I can just see this 50 years from now when they are restoring the base of the building back to the way it looked originally. This is no different than the Bob R. Simpson Building or 714 Main.

#10 Brian Luenser

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Posted 23 February 2012 - 07:41 AM

Seems like this restaurant is taking longer than they thought. That sure seems to be the pattern lately.

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#11 Joshw

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Posted 23 February 2012 - 09:23 AM

I may be wrong, but someone had said the original restaurant that was going in there backed out, and so the delay was in getting a different one? I wonder what the goal is to completing it by.

#12 Doohickie

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Posted 23 February 2012 - 10:10 AM

If they don't have a new tenant lined up yet, the work may be on hold pending the new tenant. They may want to give the new guy some opportunity for design input.
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#13 ron4Life

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Posted 27 April 2012 - 09:34 AM

This construction process is coming along very nicely. I hope someone can take pictures of it and post it. So exciting..

#14 Ron Payne

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Posted 27 April 2012 - 01:21 PM

This must be the new "Capital Grille"? From the finish work they are doing, tt 'looks' very pricey, but being next to Del Frisco's and across from Ruth's Chris, you'd expect that! It appears they'll have a pretty large outdoor seating area, and on the shady side of the street in the evenings - should be nice! Now if I can only find that shirt with a collar that I tossed aside years ago...
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#15 John T Roberts

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Posted 25 April 2013 - 02:35 PM

Another downtown Subway restaurant will be going into the Houston Street side of the building.



#16 Jeriat

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Posted 25 April 2013 - 04:29 PM

Another downtown Subway restaurant will be going into the Houston Street side of the building.

 

Do we really need another Subway? Why not throw in another Starbucks....? 

 

Why.jpg


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#17 RD Milhollin

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Posted 25 April 2013 - 08:45 PM

I would love to have a DINO's SUB place in Fort Worth. I hope several fellow forumers have had the opportunity to sample Dino's subs  on Collins Street between 303 Pioneer and Arkansas Lane in Arlington.



#18 John T Roberts

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Posted 25 April 2013 - 09:25 PM

I have sampled their subs.  It has been a while, though.



#19 Fort Worthology

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Posted 26 April 2013 - 07:35 AM

Downtown is trending toward a future where all its businesses will be either Subway, Starbucks, or a restaurant owned by either M Group or Del Frisco's.  There will be seventeen of each.

 

This particular Subway is going in so that you can fuel up with meat product to give you energy to walk two blocks to the next Subway.


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#20 Austin55

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Posted 26 April 2013 - 07:38 PM

I think we should take every Subway restaurant and make it into a real subway station.



#21 Jeriat

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Posted 26 April 2013 - 08:11 PM

I think we should take every Subway restaurant and make it into a real subway station.

There's a Patrick meme for that. 

 

Also coming to the Oncor Building...

 

551339_10200391691468316_1874896082_n.jp

 

Never heard of this place before. 


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#22 John T Roberts

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Posted 26 April 2013 - 08:34 PM

Little Red Wasp is from Adam Jones of Grace fame, and before that, Del Frisco's. 



#23 Fort Worthology

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Posted 29 April 2013 - 07:38 AM

Little Red Wasp is from Adam Jones of Grace fame, and before that, Del Frisco's. 

 

My prophecy is coming true in a roundabout way, haha.


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Kara B.

 


#24 Jeriat

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Posted 17 November 2013 - 09:10 PM

So, this is happening... You were right, John. I guess I just didn't wanna believe it.  

 

1422541_10201722889587437_1768768314_n.j


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#25 Austin55

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Posted 17 November 2013 - 10:11 PM

I have to admit... I love Subway. There's 4 in downtown already but I can't complain about more retail. 

 

Is it on the corner of 7th and Houston? 



#26 John T Roberts

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Posted 17 November 2013 - 10:58 PM

Austin, it's on the south end of the Houston Street façade of the building.



#27 Jeriat

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Posted 18 November 2013 - 12:15 AM

I'd rather it be another bar, to be honest, but retail is retail. 

... there's another Subway just some steps away in the Sinclair Building. Is that gonna stay up or will it be moving to the Oncor location? 


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#28 Austin55

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Posted 18 November 2013 - 04:28 AM

Interesting and rather off topic thought... maybe the Subway in the Sinclair building is moving to make room for lobby space of the rumored hotel makeover of Sinclair?

#29 John T Roberts

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Posted 18 November 2013 - 10:06 AM

I have a funny feeling that the Subway in the Sinclair Building is relocating here. 



#30 Jeriat

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Posted 18 November 2013 - 10:15 AM

I have a funny feeling that the Subway in the Sinclair Building is relocating here.


If that's true, then GOOD.

That space in the Sinclair is too cramped for even a Subway.

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#31 John T Roberts

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Posted 08 June 2020 - 09:41 AM

Oncor leaving their namesake building and moving into 777 Main.  They are taking 200,000 square feet of that building and the story is in the Dallas Morning News.  Below is a link to that article, if you have paid access.  If not, this is going to leave another major downtown building mostly vacant.  The Oncor Building was originally built as the Fort Worth National Bank in 1952.

 

https://www.dallasne...own-fort-worth/



#32 Austin55

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Posted 08 June 2020 - 10:20 AM

I got $50 on the old building going residential or hotel.

 

Small, narrow floorplates make a perfect fit for it.



#33 Jeriat

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Posted 08 June 2020 - 11:53 AM

I got $50 on the old building going residential or hotel.

 

I'll go with apartment/lofts. 


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#34 gdvanc

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Posted 08 June 2020 - 04:39 PM

Before I put down money on that... what's the downtown residential market in Fort Worth like these days?



#35 John T Roberts

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Posted 08 September 2020 - 09:05 PM

The Oncor Building, now renamed 115 W. 7th, is on the market.  The Fort Worth Business Press has the story.

 

https://fortworthbus...-on-the-market/



#36 arch-image

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Posted 11 September 2020 - 04:29 PM

Its been out there for a while kind of under the radar but with all the crap going on they seem to be doing a bigger push on it. I agree it makes most sense for a Hotel or Residences. I think it would also do well in general staying as Office but I think looking ahead there is going to be a good bit vacated over the next 6-12 months as companies consolidate or in many cases, sadly, close down. The big issue for anyone is going to be getting funding for much of anything for the next 6-12 months until things stabilize. 



#37 Dylan

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Posted 13 September 2020 - 05:36 PM

This likely means the loss of even more office space downtown.

 

Fort Worth is pretty much the only large US city that's shedding more office space than it's building. It's pathetic.


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#38 Austin55

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Posted 13 September 2020 - 10:08 PM

I was recently reading an article that St. Louis went 30 years without a new downtown office building, so at least we've built a few new things! 



#39 eastfwther

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Posted 14 September 2020 - 06:48 AM

This likely means the loss of even more office space downtown.

 

Fort Worth is pretty much the only large US city that's shedding more office space than it's building. It's pathetic.

That's how I feel.  Hotels are fine, but as we are seeing, the hospitality/tourism can be so easily disrupted, plus it fills our downtown with lower wage jobs.  A few  weeks ago, Amazon increased it's office space in one of the Dallas Galleria towers for  600 tech jobs; median salary 150K.  Maybe if Fort Worth was as serious about filling office space as it is about turning all of our office buildings into hotels, we could get some of these jobs.  

 

 I find it so odd that as soon as an office building here goes vacant, the first thing mentioned is turning it into a hotel; rarely renovating it into Class A  office space.  Drives me nuts!! 

 

And as much talk as there is that people will be working from home in the future and brick and mortar offices will go way, since Covid, there have still been office construction, office expansion, and office relocations...see eastern DFW metroplex. 

 

 

 



#40 Austin55

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Posted 12 January 2021 - 01:00 PM

I was recently reading an article that St. Louis went 30 years without a new downtown office building, so at least we've built a few new things! 

 

Random question regarding this building tangentially related to the quoted post, was 115 W 7th the first large office building built downtown after the Great Depression? Kress was built in 1936, one of the few private buildings to open in the mid-late 30s, but idk if it would be considered large. Between 1931's T&P Terminal, and 115 W7th that's nothing for 20 years.

 



#41 Urbndwlr

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Posted 13 January 2021 - 01:12 AM

This likely means the loss of even more office space downtown.

 

Fort Worth is pretty much the only large US city that's shedding more office space than it's building. It's pathetic.

I dont think that is true (unfortunately). 

 

Gov Cuomo just said he's now getting behind the effort to start converting more of Midtown Manhattan office towers to residential - a direct result of remote work gutting Midtown energy and also an effort to bring more residential supply to the island and residential/commercial balance to a neighborhood that is largely commercial.  This is probably good for NYC though. 

 

I'd wager that about half of the top 50 US downtowns have not had major new office supply added since the 90s and some virtually no new downtown office buildings - only renovations.  Most that did happen were driven by large, local single users such as Duke Energy in Charlotte and Comcast in Philadelphia.   Think Tulsa, Birmingham, Kansas City, Phoenix etc - any major downtown development was something other than  an office building.



#42 eastfwther

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Posted 13 January 2021 - 08:06 AM

 

I'd wager that about half of the top 50 US downtowns have not had major new office supply added since the 90s and some virtually no new downtown office buildings - only renovations.  Most that did happen were driven by large, local single users such as Duke Energy in Charlotte and Comcast in Philadelphia.   Think Tulsa, Birmingham, Kansas City, Phoenix etc - any major downtown development was something other than  an office building.

 

This is all probably true, however, these cities do not have another metro area, a mere 30 minutes away, that is seeing massive office construction as well as being the number on area  for office job growth in the nation. (Some publications might print  that number one office job growth designation as the "Dallas-Fort Worth" area, but one drive up the North Dallas Tollway from downtown Dallas to Frisco will leave no doubt where these jobs are.) Yet, that new office construction almost totally eludes this city and its metro area. 

 

My downtown Dallas employer  has moved our Las Colinas branch to Legacy West in Plano as of last month.  And if any of you have not been out here, the new office construction is nothing less than incredible.  There is nothing remotely close to this anywhere in Tarrant County.  Plano and Frisco are getting skylines for Pete's sake!!  And office buildings are going up in The Colony and  Carrollton.  It blows my mind that Fort Worth is hardly getting any of these offices and the  jobs that come with them.  I can't understand why Fort Worth is still  passed over like this.  And trying to compare our lack of new office construction to these other cities while  new office construction is booming nearby isn't a comfort. 

 

Did I mention when I'm driving down 121 to the office and look eastward, Plano and Frisco have skylines!! 



#43 John T Roberts

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Posted 13 January 2021 - 08:55 AM

Austin, I think you are probably correct about the Oncor Building.  The 28 story Continental National Bank was proposed during this time frame, but it was only built at 4 stories prior to Oncor, and completed in 1957 with two more floors and some design changes.



#44 youngalum

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Posted 13 January 2021 - 04:55 PM

 

 

I'd wager that about half of the top 50 US downtowns have not had major new office supply added since the 90s and some virtually no new downtown office buildings - only renovations.  Most that did happen were driven by large, local single users such as Duke Energy in Charlotte and Comcast in Philadelphia.   Think Tulsa, Birmingham, Kansas City, Phoenix etc - any major downtown development was something other than  an office building.

 

This is all probably true, however, these cities do not have another metro area, a mere 30 minutes away, that is seeing massive office construction as well as being the number on area  for office job growth in the nation. (Some publications might print  that number one office job growth designation as the "Dallas-Fort Worth" area, but one drive up the North Dallas Tollway from downtown Dallas to Frisco will leave no doubt where these jobs are.) Yet, that new office construction almost totally eludes this city and its metro area. 

 

My downtown Dallas employer  has moved our Las Colinas branch to Legacy West in Plano as of last month.  And if any of you have not been out here, the new office construction is nothing less than incredible.  There is nothing remotely close to this anywhere in Tarrant County.  Plano and Frisco are getting skylines for Pete's sake!!  And office buildings are going up in The Colony and  Carrollton.  It blows my mind that Fort Worth is hardly getting any of these offices and the  jobs that come with them.  I can't understand why Fort Worth is still  passed over like this.  And trying to compare our lack of new office construction to these other cities while  new office construction is booming nearby isn't a comfort. 

 

Did I mention when I'm driving down 121 to the office and look eastward, Plano and Frisco have skylines!! 

 

Because Fort Worth made the decision many decades before to focus on cow tourism and manufacturing jobs. Got the reputation as a cowboy blue collar town with the cowboy hat wearing awe shucks Chamber and Economic development teams leading the charge for many decades. Local investors built warehouses instead of office buildings.Rinse and repeat. Fort Worth cannot get local Dallas county commercial realtors to even come into Tarrant County anymore. Tarrant county is becoming more and more each day a bedroom county.



#45 rriojas71

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Posted 14 January 2021 - 01:31 PM

Youngalum, you are right on point in a lot of areas. FW and every other city in America that does not have some sort of Tech driven economy or fails to innovate their economy with the times will start to exhibit the signs of a blue collar city or bedroom community.  I think many of us here want to see FW grow and get, myself included, but I believe some of us have a hard time looking at the other side of the coin and that side would be what FW has to offer.  FW won't ever become a true bedroom community IMO.  The difference is that we will always have our history and livability as an advantage over the Planos and Friscos of the world; which are the epitome of what I would call a "bedroom community".  FW didn't become a city due to the fortunes of Dallas it grew up alongside it while at the same time maintaining its roots.

 

I have lived in the middle of a bustling city and on the outskirts of the city centers in bedroom communities and they are definitely different worlds; both having huge pros and cons. However, there are very few cities or communities that can offer a great combination of the two.  Fort Worth has a very urban vibe but not an overwhelming one.  It also has a much more laid back and authentic feel about it.   Many people that I know really love those qualities of Fort Worth.  It has been called a hidden gem by some of my business contacts and friends who have visited.  I don't have to go to Dallas for unique entertainment options or cultural events because there is plenty to do here; and much more if you take the time to look for it.  Dallas has some things that I can only do in Dallas and I like having that option on my doorstep, but there are a ton of things Dallas has that I can do without (mainly traffic and their uppity attitudes).

 

Can FW improve in some areas?  Of course it can, but in what areas and at what cost?  If in fact it became or has become a bedroom community I would still choose to live here just as it is and as it evolves.  The FW we have now is much more dynamic than the FW I left in the mid 90's, but thankfully some of it still feels the same.



#46 John T Roberts

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Posted 30 March 2022 - 12:34 PM

The building is being nominated to the National Register of Historic Places.  The Texas Historical Commission has requested an opinion from the HCLC regarding the nomination.  This is usually the first step of the process when a city has a preservation ordinance and a Landmarks Commission.  Here's the link to the City's Website on Design Review Cases:

 

https://cfw.maps.arc...6f6ab1542fca765

 

Below is the link to the actual National Register Nomination as prepared by Susan and Steve Kline:

 

https://www.thc.texa...R SBR Draft.pdf



#47 Nitixope

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Posted 30 March 2022 - 09:09 PM

John, thanks for posting. Some great photos in the nomination packet.

#48 John T Roberts

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Posted 30 March 2022 - 09:54 PM

Steve and Susan Kline do excellent work.  I have known them ever since I joined the Board of Historic Fort Worth.  Steve is a fellow architect and worked for the GSA until he recently retired.  Now, he works with his wife on historic designations.  Susan has been writing nominations ever since I have known her. 

 

The information they have provided gives me a little more information on the history of the building.  On my list of Tallest Buildings, I had the height wrong.  The 220' height may not be exactly correct, but it is much closer than the 234' height I previously had.  That height would have put it taller than the W.T. Waggoner Building, which it obviously is not.  The dimension to the top of the parapet on the Penthouse is 219 feet.  The elevator overrun is a few feet higher.  You can see that from my photographs at the top of the Kimpton Harper Hotel.  I can't read the dimension to the top of the overrun on the elevations that are included in the nomination. 

 

On the small addition on the back of the building.  When I had my first meal inside the Little Red Wasp, I could tell that the restaurant was an addition to the bank.  Through UTA's historic photographs, I could also see that there was another historic building, at only 25 feet wide at that location when they built the bank.  The one thing that I didn't catch on the photographs was that the 4th floor on the base portion of the building was an addition made at the same time. 

 

I will agree that there are great photos on the nomination draft.

 

If anyone is interested, it is easiest to write a nomination for a local Historic & Cultural Landmark Designation.  I have written several that have been approved by the HCLC, Zoning Commission, and City Council.  It is much harder to write one for a State Level Designation or for the National Register of Historic Places.  As you can see from the documentation for the Fort Worth National Bank, there is a lot of written information, and a lot of documentation.  This is how Steve and Susan earn additional income after he retired. If you are wondering why the building is called The Fort Worth National Bank, it is customary to list the historic name of the building on form.  If you look at the nomination of their previous home, you can see that it is called The Farmers and Mechanics National Bank Building.

 

I do have one final note.  We have a good foundation for a Downtown Fort Worth/Skyscraper National Register Historic District.  By going to the centerlines of the street boundaries of each property, there is a large section of Downtown that is contiguous with designated properties.  In defining the district, you can also connect pieces with non-contributing structures (non-historic buildings). 



#49 John T Roberts

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Posted 31 March 2022 - 01:26 PM

With the information that was provided in the National Register Draft, I revised several pages on the website last night.  This included the new name, the Fort Worth's Tallest Page and several adjacent pages due to the name change. 



#50 steave

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Posted 31 March 2022 - 04:28 PM

How much of that building is empty since Oncor moved into 777 main?







Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: Downtown, Fort Worth National Bank, Remodel

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