Downtown building purchase signals move by law firm into Fort Worth

Atelier Building, 209 W. 8th St., Fort Worth courtesy photo

The purchase of an historic building in downtown Fort Worth is signaling a law firm planting its flag in the city.

The historic Atelier Building, tucked into downtown Fort Worth, has been sold in a short-term sale-leaseback between law firms, setting the stage for the seller’s expansion and the Austin-based buyer’s fourth office in Texas.

Built around 1905, the two-story structure, totaling 2,500 square feet, is located at 209 W. 8th St., within walking distance of all that Fort Worth’s vibrant downtown has to offer, including the Tarrant County Courthouse. Seller BWHC Properties LLC was represented by Nick Talley of Bradford Commercial Real Estate Services, who is now searching for downtown office space for the law firm of Barnett Williams & Howard.

“A law firm owned it and a law firm wanted it,” says the executive vice president and managing partner in the Fort Worth office of Dallas-based Bradford. “There are very few buildings like this in the downtown. They rarely come on the market.”

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The incoming occupant is O’Hanlon, Demerath & Castillo, a 12-attorney firm with offices in San Antonio, the Rio Grande Valley and its headquarters city of Austin. Partner Kevin O’Hanlon and Priscilla Lozano are the buyers of record. Practice areas for the firm include real estate, constitutional law, personal injury, school law, public finance and others.

BWHC Properties has owned the boutique building since 2016. The law firm extensively renovated the interior before hanging its shingle.

“The ready-to-go law firm space was the dealmaker,” said Talley, who negotiated an all-cash transaction directly with O’Hanlon and Lozano.

The Atelier Building was accorded a Texas Historic Landmark designation in 1980 following restoration by local architect Cameron Alread. Developed by Thomas S. Weaver in the early 1900s, the structure is believed to have been designed by the Smith & Schenk architectural firm, one of the original tenants. Its myriad uses through the years include contractors, restaurants and prestigious financial institutions, including that of W.R. Edrington, a noted Fort Worth benefactor and financier at the onset of the 20th century.