Fort Worth removes public use restriction from fire station building

Posted: Wednesday, August 17, 2016 12:49 pm

The ground floor of the historic Fire Station No. 1 building at the corner of Commerce and Second Streets is no longer required to be used solely as a public space.

The Fort Worth City Council voted unanimously on Aug. 16 to remove the deed restrictions that require the building’s ground floor to be reserved for public use, with the contingency that any alterations done to the building’s exterior must be approved by the city’s historic preservation officer.

The two-story building was constructed in 1907 and served as a fire station until 1980. In 1981, the city sold the building to the Bass family (under the name City Center Development Co., L.P.), putting restrictions on the property in an effort to the protect the historic character of the building. The ground floor, for example, had to be open to the public and used as a “multi-media interpretive center and visitors’ center or similar uses,” according to a city staff report.

In 1984, the Fort Worth Museum of Science and History opened its “150 Years of Fort Worth History” exhibit on the ground floor but eventually closed the exhibit in February. Selected items from the exhibit will be on display at the Fort Worth Convention and Visitors Bureau’s downtown Visitor’s Center at 508 Main St., which is currently undergoing renovation.

“It was a privilege to tell the story of Fort Worth at such a historic location for more than thirty years,” Museum President Van A. Romans said in a statement. “However, the time is right for us to find other ways to share these artifacts and photographs.”

The Fire Station No. 1 building is currently co-owned by City Center Development Co., L.P.; SRB City Investments, L.P.; T-L City Investments, L.P.; and DDR/DTC City Investments, L.P.

According to the city staff report, the groups have kept the structure well-maintained, and the city has determined that the deed restriction is no longer necessary “due to changes in downtown visitor interests and the availability of similar experiences elsewhere in downtown Fort Worth.”

Assistant City Manager Jay Chapa said the owners are currently looking for a tenant to occupy the ground floor.

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