Designs on Downtown

Greg Bird of Jetta Operating Co. 

New 26-story building will have retail, office, parking, condos

Fort Worth’s burgeoning downtown got another vote of confidence this month when plans were approved for a new 26-story mixed-use tower in downtown Fort Worth.

The city’s Downtown Design Review Board approved plans for the building at 640 Taylor St. on the site of the former Star-Telegram Annex and parking lot. The building will be home to the privately held Jetta Operating Co. in Fort Worth and owned by Anthracite Realty Partners. Anthracite is owned by Jetta founder and President Greg Bird.

The building will include space for retail, other office tenants, parking and condominiums, according to a detailed plan revealed at the meeting by Anthracite and Bird.

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The building will have a footprint of about a 20,000 square feet. It will include 7,000 square feet of ground-floor retail space, 230,000 square feet of office space, 900 parking spaces, six to eight condominiums on the top two floors, a skyline restaurant open to tenants and the public, and event spaces available for private events, according to the plan.

“It will be a great site for downtown,” Bird said in an interview.

Jetta, a privately held energy firm, has its offices in the Fort Worth Club Tower across Taylor Street from the new building. It has said previously that it would move into the new building.

Jetta has about 45,000 square feet of space in the Fort Worth Club and will likely take up at least three floors in the new building, Bird said. Anthracite plans to put another anchor office tenant in the building as well as additional office tenants.

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“We’re well down the road on discussions” with a prospective anchor tenant, Bird said.

Asked whether the tenant would be new to Fort Worth, he said, “They have a presence within Fort Worth and within Texas. It’ll be a great complementary client to have downtown.”

Andy Taft, president of the Downtown Fort Worth Inc. economic development nonprofit, said he expects the new project won’t significantly affect the economics of the downtown office market.

“There’s going to be very little spec space built,” Taft said.

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Jetta’s move will open up the space in the Fort Worth Club Tower, “a very attractive building,” Taft said.

“[The new building] creates another corporate headquarters site downtown, which makes downtown more attractive,” Taft said.

Catherine Severin, Jetta’s vice president of administration and corporate communications, said Jetta plans to begin excavating the site in the mid-summer. Construction could take 22-24 months, she estimated.

Bird declined to say how much Anthracite plans to invest in the building. The company has not asked the city of Fort Worth for an incentive package, but Bird said Anthracite may inquire into help for infrastructure improvements.

The parking garage will include spaces for the Fort Worth Club and Morningstar Partners, the energy firm founded by XTO Energy founder Bob Simpson that owns the former Star-Telegram complex at 400 W. Seventh St.

Pedestrian access to the tower will be from Taylor Street, where elevators will go to all parking levels, the 12th floor Sky Lobby, 13th floor dining level, offices and condos.

The ground-floor retail space will be along Fifth, Taylor and Sixth streets. Jetta will improve the sidewalks with colored pavers, planting areas and pedestrian lighting.

The Sky Lobby will feature a security and visitor check-in area for guests en route to the elevator bank. The floor also will include conference facilities.

The dining level will feature views through full-height glass walls onto a 3,400-square-foot dining deck facing Sundance Square. The dining level is designed for a restaurant and small cafe. Adjacent to the dining area, Anthracite will build a 3,200-square-foot roof garden with extensive landscaping and shade structures.

The dining and roof garden areas will be available for private events.

Bird said he’s looking for a high-end restaurant that can also handle catering for the conference center and the building’s special events.

“It’ll be a special place,” he said. “It’s a great venue.”

The office floor’s facade will feature a high-efficiency insulating glass curtain wall, metal panel and metal louver system.

The parking structure will have a curtain wall and metal louver system, allowing air and light into the garage. The ground-floor lobby will have double-height glass walls.

Bird said Anthracite is turning next to determining the sizes, amenities and prices for the condos.

“We think it will be a great complement to the building” and “makes it more unique and brings it to life a little bit through all hours of the day,” he said.

Bird founded Jetta in 1991. The company operates more than 1,000 wells, primarily on the Texas Gulf Coast, Delaware Basin of West Texas, Southern Mid-Continent Region of Oklahoma and Texas, and Appalachian Basin of Eastern Kentucky. The Oil and Gas Financial Journal has listed Jetta in the top 50 U.S. private exploration and production companies, based on operated production in the United States.

Jetta has about 240 U.S. employees, including 120-130 in the Fort Worth Club Tower offices, Bird said.

The company anticipates more growth, Bird said. Anthracite bought the 640 Taylor Street site from the Fort Worth Club last year for an undisclosed price. The Fort Worth Club had purchased it from the Star-Telegram in 2008.

“We’re just looking ahead to the next 10 years,” he said. “We’ve been on a pretty steady growth pattern for the last 10 years.”

Not only will the new building provide more room to grow, it will compete well in the strong downtown Class A office market, Bird said.

Bennett Benner Partners is the project’s architect. Balfour Beatty Construction will be the general contractor.

640 Taylor

26 Stories

As designed it would be the seventh-tallest in Fort Worth

7,000 square feet of ground-floor retail

230,000 square feet of office space

900 parking spaces

Six to eight condominiums on the top two floors

Skyline restaurant on 12th floor

Sky lobby on 13th floor

Event space

Owner by Anthracite Realty Partners

Architect: Bennett Benner Partners

General Contractor: Balfour Beatty Construction