Council Report: Fort Worth to increase spending on legal fees in effort to acquire Bodycote property

American National Bank and Trust

The Fort Worth City Council voted Jan. 12 to spend an additional $100,000 on legal fees as the city continues negotiations with Bodycote Thermal Processing to acquire the company’s property for the ongoing multipurpose arena project.

The property is located at 2005 Montgomery St., where the city plans to build the multipurpose arena next to the current Fort Worth Stock Show grounds. The added $100,000, which includes consultation fees and other services, will go to attorney John Allen Chalk Sr. and the Whitaker Chalk Swindle and Schwartz law firm. The city has been working with the firm since March 2015 and is paying it about $250,000 in an effort to acquire the land, on which Bodycote’s main plant currently stands.

The city and Bodycote, a heat treatment services company based in the United Kingdom, have been negotiating since January 2015. The parties have not settled on a price, and the city has offered to assist Bodycote in relocating, according to Assistant City Manager Susan Alanis.

If the city and Bodycote can’t settle on a price, the city may use eminent domain to acquire the property, Alanis wrote in an email to Fort Worth Business.

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The total market value of the property is about $928,000, according to Tarrant Appraisal District Executive Director Jeff Law.

Bodycote plans to stay in Fort Worth, even if the city acquires the property, according to Bodycote Marketing Manager Haza Huston.

“We are strongly positioned to continue supporting our supply chain partners in the Fort Worth area, with ample capacity and a diverse set of capabilities to meet their specific needs,” Eric Whitman, Bodycote’s vice president of operations for heat treatment in North America, said in a statement. “We also look forward to continue our investment in this market to ensure that our customers experience local service with superior quality and turnaround time.”

Neither the city nor Bodycote provided information on where Bodycote might relocate if the city takes the Montgomery site.

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In December, the city purchased a storage building once owned by Bodycote. That land will be used for the multipurpose arena’s parking garage.

Trail Drive extension

The City Council voted to partner with the Fort Worth Independent School District on a project to extend Trail Drive through the parking lot at the school district’s Farrington Field, between University Drive and West Lancaster Avenue.

The purpose of the extension is to ease traffic around West 7th Street, University Drive and West Lancaster Avenue. The city also hopes the extension will create more than nine acres of parkland in Trinity Park and give visitors better access to the historic Van Zandt Cottage in the park, according to Alanis.

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The city has not determined when construction will begin, but the agreement between the city and FWISD states that construction must start by Jan. 1, 2021 unless both parties agree to extend the deadline.

The city has also not determined where funding will come from, so the street project may not begin until the next bond program in 2018 or 2019, according to Alanis. The project also involves the demolition and relocation of park maintenance facilities on Crestline Road, for which funding has not yet been determined.

The tentative cost of the project is about $8.1 million, according to estimates by Bennet Benner Partners and Dunaway and Associates.

TCU zoning change

The Council also approved a zoning change that would allow Texas Christian University to build a new fine arts building south of West Cantey Street and east of South University Drive. The area previously had residential zoning, but the new zoning would allow for mixed-use development.

The architectural style of the new facility is meant to be similar to the design of the Moudy Building just to the west, which is white and gray concrete and has a glass façade. Because the building is supposed to mimic the Moudy Building’s design, TCU requested some waivers to the zoning requirements. Waivers include having the building’s main entry face the campus, as opposed to facing the neighborhood behind it, and having fewer building entries for security reasons. Council approved these waivers.

TCU is working with Fort Worth-based civil engineering firm Dunaway Associates for the project.

Bank zoning change

The Council approved the rezoning of a portion of West Seventh Street to accommodate the construction of American National Bank and Trust. The area previously had industrial zoning and zoning for certain commercial developments, but now the zoning is mainly commercial.

The bank has plans to build a two-story, 12,000-square-foot building at 1500 West Seventh St., but the exact address could change, according to Michael Winfrey, senior vice president at American National Bank and Trust.

The West Seventh location will be the bank’s first in Fort Worth. Its main branch is in Wichita Falls. It has a loan production office on West Fifth Street that will move to West Seventh once the new bank is built.

Construction is scheduled to begin in May, and the bank is expected to open in July 2017. Komatsu Architecture is the architect for the project. Muckleroy and Falls is the contractor.

“Fort Worth is an absolute fit for our culture, vision and values,” Winfrey said. “We look forward to being a trusted financial partner to the Fort Worth community throughout its bright future.”

American National Bank and Trust will occupy the same street as another bank of similar name — American National Bank of Texas, located at 2720 West Seventh St.

Council notes

– Council has selected Perkins and Will to be the architect for a library in far north Fort Worth. The library, located at 4264 Golden Triangle Blvd., will be 17,000 square feet, with 1,000 square feet used for municipal court services. The estimated cost is $9.2 million. The library is expected to open in the spring of 2018.

– A higher speed limit may be in the works for Chisholm Trail Parkway between Arborlawn Drive and Interstate 30. Council voted to amend an agreement the city has with the North Texas Tollway Authority (NTTA) and the Texas Department of Transportation, which requires the speed limit to be 50 m.p.h. NTTA plans to conduct a speed study and consider raising the speed limit.