Fort Worth, Texas – Fort Worth’s former Pier 1 headquarters building near downtown could soon become Fort Worth’s new City Hall.
Mayor Betsy Price and City Manager David Cooke on Wednesday afternoon announced the city has reached agreement to purchase the building at 100 Energy Way, expects to complete due diligence by the end of December, and close Feb. 21. City Council members will vote Dec. 15 on buying and financing the property. Tax notes do not require voter approval.
The city will use tax notes allowed by state law for such purposes, Price and Cooke said. The two did not disclose the purchase price or renovation costs, but said those will be part of the agenda item. The city would consolidate much of its services into the new building, and put certain of its properties on the open market for sale, Price and Cooke said. The current city hall downtown is required by covenant to remain a municipal use, and the city will retain it for certain services, Price and Cooke said.
“Out of this year is going to come some golden opportunities, and we’ve been saying that for awhile,” Price said.
The building, owned by a California limited partnership, recently came available for sale, and the city, which has been considering ideas for a new city hall to replace the outmoded one it’s outgrown, is an opportunity the city “just can’t pass up,” Cooke said.
The city will make improvements including the construction of a new City Council chambers in the building. “This is a building we can move into in the next two years,” Cooke said. “It’s an incredible deal to taxpayers.”
Talk of a new city hall had been a “conversation item” for the city’s next bond package when the Pier 1 building became available, Cooke noted.
The building is about one third occupied, with 409,977 square feet available for the city complex, Price and Cooke said, indicating existing tenants will remain and their rents will help defray the city’s costs. It’s marketed on the commercial real estate site LoopNet as having a total 1,089 covered parking spaces.
The plan represents a total cost savings to taxpayers over other ideas, given the leases the city will exit elsewhere, proceeds from sales of city-owned properties, the rental income, and the fact that the Energy Way building, built in 2004 as Pier 1’s new headquarters, is already efficient, Price and Cooke said.
The new City Hall would be about 160,000 square feet larger than the current one, with better, modern amenities and parking. By purchasing the building, the city would push up its move to a new City Hall by several years.
“Cost estimates for the construction of a new municipal complex were greater than $200 million, while the purchase price for the new property will result in substantial cost savings in the tens of millions,” the city said in a release accompanying a news conference held by Price and Cooke.
“It will result in a significant cost savings from what we were planning for our citizens,” Price said.