Developers Plan 60-Story Office/Condo Tower in Downtown Fort Worth

Project would include 200K-s.f. of office space, 300 condos and 10 floors of parking

Dec. 14--FORT WORTH -- Area developers are considering a spiraling 60-story, $200 million office and condo tower on the east side of downtown that, if built, would become the city's tallest building -- and the first skyscraper built here in more than 20 years.

Fort Worth architect Ken Schaumburg and Dallas developer William "Bill" Cawley, chairman and chief executive of Cawley Wilcox Cos., have teamed for the ambitious project, one that could spur redevelopment in an area of downtown that has been bypassed by most recent redevelopment efforts.

The project, planned for the southeast corner of Calhoun and Sixth streets, would likely offer some of the highest-priced condominiums in the downtown residential market and create a residential center near the city's public-transportation hub.

Cawley said the project would include 200,000 square feet of office space, 300 condos and 10 floors of parking. It is in early design and budgeting stages, and not all of the financing has been obtained, he said. He said his company and other investors will back the project financially.

"I don't expect that to be a problem," Cawley said. "Fort Worth is a great office market, and it's a great city. It's one of the most stable markets in the U.S."

Schaumburg and representatives with Wilcox Development Services, the development arm of the Cawley Wilcox Cos., met with city officials Monday in a pre-development planning session for the 900-foot-tall building, planned for the city block bounded by Seventh, Eighth, Calhoun and Jones streets.

There is no name yet for the project, but it is being referred to as the Block TU project in city filings.

"It looks like everything is good to go," Schaumburg said.

The condos are expected to sell for at least $350 a square foot, meaning the largest condos, at 5,000 square feet, would go for $1.75 million, Schaumburg said.

As it's now planned, the building's floors each would be 20,000 square feet. The street level would have retail space, followed by 10 floors for parking for 1,100 cars. There would be separate parking entrances for office tenants and residents.

Above the parking floors would be a transitional floor of open space, followed by 10 floors of offices, according to the preliminary plans. Above the office floors would be a floor for the building's mechanical equipment and then a sky lobby, which would house recreational space for the condos, including a swimming pool. Above that would be 37 floors of condos.

Schaumburg said he would like to see a public restaurant on the top floor.

The condos will range from about 800 square feet to 5,000 square feet, with most 1,500 to 2,000 square feet, Schaumburg said. Costs will begin at $350 a square foot, which will set the top end of the market downtown. Marketing efforts for pre-sales will likely begin in late February, he said.

If completed, the building will surpass the city's tallest building, Burnett Plaza, 801 Cherry St., which is 40 stories and 567 feet high. The second-tallest building is D.R. Horton Tower, 301 Commerce St., at 547 feet high and 38 stories. Carter+Burgess Plaza, at Seventh and Main streets, is also 40 stories, but 525 feet.

The east end of downtown is home to a few warehouses and several empty lots that are used for parking. It is also home to the Intermodal Transportation Center, the city's bus and train terminal, opened at Ninth and Jones streets in 2002.

City leaders say the project would be a huge boost to downtown because most of the recent development has been focused on the northern, southern and western edges of the central business district.

"We've long seen the potential of that area to benefit from the growth of downtown," said Fernando Costa, the city's economic-development director.

The site is just a few blocks from Bass Performance Hall and within a few of blocks of the heart of the city's office and commercial district, the workplace for about 40,000 people.

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