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

Andy Taft, president of Downtown Fort Worth Inc., a nonprofit booster group, said the project will tap into two markets in great demand -- office and residential. He's hoping that the development could spur similar projects.

"The office space is very tight in downtown, and the combination of office and residential in that location is an intriguing idea," Taft said. "There is a lot of land in that corridor for redevelopment opportunities."

Mayor Mike Moncrief said the proposed building would certainly change the city's skyline.

"I know there's demand for square footage downtown, offices large and small alike," Moncrief said.

The vacancy rate for Class A office space in downtown Fort Worth has remained at historic lows for the past couple of years, and if forecasts are correct, it's going to keep getting tighter.

Grubb & Ellis says that the largest tenant demands will occur in the Class A office market, the most modern buildings with the latest amenities. Corporate relocations and consolidations are creating the greatest demand for space, Grubb & Ellis says in its market assessment.

Other projects are also in the works for downtown Fort Worth.

Klabzuba Oil and Gas Co. in Fort Worth plans a 10-story Class A office building near the southwest corner of Weatherford and Lexington streets, on the western edge of downtown. The company said the 200,000-square-foot building could be under construction in mid-2006.

Schaumburg said Cawley approached him earlier this year about a possible project.

The land was acquired by Schaumburg in April from TXU Electric Delivery, which had used it for fleet parking. At the time, Schaumburg said he anticipated using the city block to expand his nearby Le Bijou luxury town-house development, which will be under construction in the coming weeks.

"I had planned on a condo project, but this makes it pretty exciting to combine both," Schaumburg said.

The Cawley Wilcox Cos. are not unfamiliar with Fort Worth. Wilcox Capital in July bought the three-building Overton Centre office complex in southwest Fort Worth. In 2002, it bought the Green Oaks Hotel, a west Fort Worth landmark, and in 2003 it bought the Ridglea Bank Building off Camp Bowie Boulevard.

Most recently, Wilcox Development built the JPMorgan International Building, a 1.1 million-square-foot building in Dallas, the 420,000-square-foot Sybase corporate headquarters in Dublin, Calif., and the 250,000-square-foot Blue Shield of California building in Sacramento.

Schaumburg will serve as design architect on the Fort Worth project , but Omniplan in Dallas will be the architect of record.

The Fort Worth building would be as tall as two 60-story buildings in downtown Dallas -- the Bank One Center at 1717 Main St. and Fountain Place, 1445 Ross Ave. The tallest building in the Metroplex is the 72-story Bank of America Plaza, 901 Main St., in downtown Dallas, according to the Web site

Schaumburg is behind several high-dollar condominium projects in Fort Worth, including The Versailles, at Henderson and Peach streets, and Bluff Street, at 959 Bluff St. He has also talked about a $48 million, 23-story condo tower on the western edge of downtown that would overlook the Trinity River at Peach and North Lexington streets.

(Fort Worth Star-Telegram (Fort Worth) (KRT) -- 12/15/05)

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