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Owners to sell T&P Terminal

FORT WORTH - The owners of the Texas & Pacific Terminal on Lancaster Avenue have abandoned their plan to redevelop the former passenger terminal and instead will put the building up for sale.

Ed Casebier, managing partner of Renaissance Development Co., said Wednesday that the group will begin advertising the 12-story office tower and former passenger terminal Friday.

The group will use proceeds from the sale to pursue other commercial and residential projects it has in the works, including the possible development of a limited-service hotel on Vickery Boulevard in Fort Worth, Casebier said.

"It's really just a matter of cash management," Casebier said of the decision to sell.

Casebier, along with Fort Worth businessman Tom Blanton, acquired the T&P building in 1999 and hoped to have it under development by this time.

Their initial plans called for turning the vacant building into a 300-room railroad-themed hotel.

But that idea was dashed late last year when the city turned down a request by the owners to back a $50 million renovation with a special redevelopment authority that would issue tax-free bonds. Instead, city leaders said they would move forward with their own plan to finance a convention center hotel.

Renaissance Development then began exploring the idea of redeveloping the building into luxury condominiums. But because the owners have little experience in such developments, they decided to sell, he said.

"It's better off in the hands of a condominium developer than us," Casebier said. "We may still do it if there's not a buyer for it."

Casebier said the group has not set an asking price but rather will entertain offers. They are, however, seeking a national-based developer that would have the cash to buy it, he said.

The Tarrant Appraisal District lists the value of the land and building at $3.87 million for tax purposes.

One project that Renaissance Development is involved in is the development of 4 acres between Vickery Boulevard and Interstate 30 in downtown Fort Worth, where the Fort Worth Transportation Authority operates a Trinity Rail Express station. A pedestrian tunnel opened in May. It connects the T&P Terminal with the land, owned and being used by the T as a parking lot.

Renaissance is the T's development partner on the land.

Renaissance will go before an executive committee of the T on Sept. 5 to seek approval for a three-level parking garage and retail center on the property. But further development of the plan depends on funding support from Tax Increment Finance District No. 4, which includes most of the Fort Worth South district.

If the committee approves the parking and retail structure, Renaissance has also agreed to develop a 110-room limited-service hotel, probably a Holiday Inn Express, just west of the parking garage on another parcel owned by a family trust.

Construction on both projects could be under way in the first quarter of 2003, Casebier said.

Don Scott, president of Fort Worth South, a private development group for the near south side, said he is disappointed that Renaissance Development is selling the T&P building. But he said he hopes that the other developments will send a signal to other investors and developers.

"It will be a catalytic project," Scott said.

Sandra Baker, (817) 390-7727 [email protected]

Ft. Worth Star-Telegram
Sandra Baker