Ground was broken on Wednesday Oct. 21 for downtown Fort Worth’s first commercial skyscraper in more than 20 years. The 25-story at 640 Taylor St. will revitalize the east side of downtown, according to Michael Bennett of Bennett Benner Partners, designers of the building.
The site, currently a parking lot, is part of a trend to get rid of surface parking lots in downtown areas, he said. The new skyscraper will include a parking garage with spaces for the Fort Worth Club and Morningstar Partners, which owns the former Star-Telegram complex at 400 W. Seventh St., adjacent to the site. The building will have 258,900 gross square feet of office space and 45,800 gross square feet of amenity floors. In addition, Bennett noted that the building will bring new energy to the east side of downtown, much like that currently seen in Sundance Square. The 12th floor, he said, will have an outdoor cafe and the 13th floor will have several high-tech meeting facilities for use by Fort Worth companies and residents. That will invite interaction with people beyond the building’s tenants, Bennett said.
Frost Bank will be the anchor and name tenant for the new tower, which is being built by the energy firm Jetta Operating Co. Anthracite Realty Partners LLC, Jetta’s affiliate, announced earlier in October that Frost Bank has signed a lease to occupy more than 73,000 square feet in the building. Frost will have a lobby-level banking facility and will move its region headquarters and other lines of business into three upper floors.
For Greg Bird, CEO of Jetta, the building is “about the people.” He says he hopes the building will be a place where “you can be your best.” For Jetta Operating Co., a privately held oil and gas exploration and production firm based in Fort Worth, the building is a public face for a company that has traditionally kept a low profile. The company, with nearly 250 employees (140 in Fort Worth), will move its corporate headquarters from the Fort Worth Club Tower into the new high-rise, which is estimated to cost more than $100 million. Jetta will occupy 70,000 square feet of space in the building.
It will be the seventh-tallest building in Fort Worth and Bennett said he expects it to become a downtown landmark. Stream Realty Partners will oversee leasing and consulting services for the new tower. Seth Koschak, Ramsey March and Tyler Maner of Stream will oversee the leasing, and Jerry Mays of Stream will provide pre-development consulting services. Frost was represented by Todd Burnette and Pat McDowell with Fort Worth-based JLL in the transaction. Balfour Beatty Construction will be the lead contractor on the building.