Signs were a hot topic at the Downtown Design Review Board meeting on Sept. 7.
While the 901 Commerce project was not contentious, another item on the agenda was. Co-working space company WeWork is moving into 300 Throckmorton St. and requested a Certificate of Appropriateness to install crown building signage, second floor tenant signage, and pedestrian-level tenant monument signage.
The crown of building signage is 5-foot, 7-inch’ tall and 26-feet across and would be located in the uppermost concrete square of the building. The sign would read “wework” and would be made of black welded aluminum and would light up white at night through its internally illuminated letters. The Downtown Fort Worth Design Review Committee and the Fort Worth Chamber both recommended approval of the project, but the proposal met contention from Johnny Campbell with Sundance Square and many of the Board members.
WeWork is a co-working space company that offers member access to several business services including health benefits, payment processing, payroll among others.
Campbell expressed enthusiastic support for the company wework but expressed concern that allowing one skyline-altering building to add crown signage would set a precedent for other tall buildings and would negatively impact the day and night-time views of the Fort Worth skyline.
“In order to fit into the community of Fort Worth, in my opinion, we would start by respecting the history of the architecture and how Fort Worth has operated all of these years,” Campbell said, calling attention to the fact that the buildings taller than 10 stories in the Fort Worth skyline have no top of the building signage.
“Fort Worth is in a position right now to either preserve what we’ve been doing or open the door to something that carries on further,” he added. “I’m only here to say I think we need to think of this in a much larger scope before we start putting the signs on the tops of the buildings.”
Matt Montegue with JLL real estate offered a rebuttal to Campbell’s comments, adding that because of the type of company wework is – a coworking, tenant leasing-type company – “they have to acticvate their space to make their revenie … and let the product and location speak for themselves.”
Montegue added that the offering of the crown signage was one of the elements that helped draw the company to Fort Worth in the first place.
Place 2 Board Member Andrew Blake said he thought the signage was subtle enough not to make a substantial impact and made a motion to approve all requested signage for wework, though he said initially upon reading the request he wouldn’t have expected to be in support of it. His fellow board members did not agree, however, adding that allowing this one instance of crown signage could be a “Gateway Drug” to allowing all downtown buildings to have it, and his motion died without a second.
After some lengthy discussion, Gwen Harper made a motion to approve all signage except for the crown of building signage, requesting a continuance on that issue for next month’s meeting and asking that the company come back with photos of the sign superimposed on the building to show the impact on the day and night view of the skyline.
Harper’s motion carried with all but Millican in approval.
Signage was also the topic later in the meeting with 7-11 owner Jacob Capetillo also requesting a Certificate of Appropriateness to install signage at his 1401 W. 7th St. location.
Because of Exxon’s national gas partnership with 7-11 the company is going around 7-11 locations requesting to add Exxon signage to the area. Capetillo’s proposal included a proposed sign reface to add Exxon’s logo to the pedestrian-level sign, the logo and a red strip across the top of the gas station and the following additions to the lower gas-pump area:
— Red “Waves” on one side of the gas pump to allow for poster ads and to support “Blade” signs that read “Fuel Technology Synergy.”
— Number wedges to represent which pump the patron is at.
— “Koala” column-hugging, red plastic poster-ad holders that can support 1-3 poster ads dependent on “Koala” size on the side opposite of the “Waves” on the pumps.
As the station is considered to be at the “gateway to downtown Fort Worth” by the board, the excess of bright red color and clutter of the various methods of signage was not met with approval by the board. Not contentious at all, the group moved to approve the signage package minus the “Waves,” “Koalas,” “Blades” and the red strip across the top of the station. The motion was approved unanimously
Also at the meeting the Board unanimously approved Certificates of Appropriateness to construct a single-family residence at 1015 Mayfield St. and 1804 Glenmore Ave. for Jesse and Rose Alaniz and Kane and Joshua Urban respectively.
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