A design and coding firm from Austin will be in charge of creating the form-based code and historic district standards and guidelines for the Fort Worth Stockyards.
The city will spend $300,000 to hire the firm Code Studio to complete the task. The Fort Worth City Council approved its contract with Code Studio on March 29. The firm is currently working with the city to develop a form-based code for Berry Street and its surrounding area.
“It seems clear that the Stockyards is a place that matters to many, many people in Fort Worth, at a level that goes beyond simply being a historic site,” Code Studio Principal Lee Einsweiler said. “It is a part of what defines the city. While many communities have places that are valued by the community, this one seems to be part of the soul of Fort Worth.”
A form-based code is similar to zoning but governs design and use of the property. Any new development that falls within the boundary of a form-based code district will need to follow a set of rules for what development should look like. A historic district works in a similar way, but also has certain protections to maintain the historic character of the area.
To develop the historic district standards, Code Studio will work with Winter & Company, a design and planning firm based in Colorado. Winter & Company has worked on several historic districts and preservation plans around the U.S., such as the historic preservation plan for Tacoma, Washington, and the downtown historic district in Juneau, Alaska.
Code Studio will begin working on the form-based code and historic district guidelines after the city council votes to create the historic district on April 5. The council has two districts to consider: a smaller district that the council originally proposed and a larger district proposed by the Historic and Cultural Landmarks Commission and nonprofit historic preservation group Historic Fort Worth, Inc.
The council-backed district roughly encompasses a portion of Houston Street on the west, part of Stockyards Boulevard on the north, Niles City Boulevard on the east and 23rd Street on the south. The larger district covers roughly the same area but also includes more of 23rd Street and the area east of Niles City Boulevard. The expanded boundaries allow the former Swift and Co. property and Armour and Co. property to be included in the district.
Code Studio plans to hold a “charrette,” or public process in which the community meets to give input on the development code, as the firm creates the standards and guidelines for the form-based code and historic district, Einsweiler said.
“No matter what the outcome of this project, the Stockyards location and accessibility make it ripe for development,” he said. “Nationwide, communities are seeing a wave of growth returning to their centers. During our upcoming charrette, we will work with the community to identify the key features essential to its historic significance. These help to establish a framework within which new compatible development may occur.”