Following up on last week's article regarding the Fort Worth Community Arts Center on 1300 Gendy, the Fort Worth City Council has offered their recommendations for a plan of action. The plan for the property, which houses 14 tenants (nine non-profits and five studio artists), calls for the city-owned-asset to become a "world-class cultural hub".

Unsurprisingly, the projected cost of redevelopment, determined by a 2022 study, has ballooned to $30mm from the initial $26.1mm estimate on account of inflation and other factors. In all fairness, for a government project, that is a pretty modest budget overrun -- just ask Boeing and the Air Force.

Task force chairman Leonard Firestone and Vice Chairman Glenn Lewis outlined three possible scenarios: restoration, renovation, and redevelopment. The recommendation included three primary goals:

  1. Incorporate the architecture of the existing building
  2. Include and incubator for emerging artists and a live theater space
  3. Include existing tenants if it is economically feasible

These recommendations leave plenty of room for interpretations. Developers and architects will have the opportunity to flex their creative muscles in crafting their plans. Additionally, the incentive (but not requirement) to keep existing tenants in place creates an interesting trade-off for developers who, in a private deal, may not give a second thought to non-profit and artist tenants.

Investors, builders, and architects interested in the project should be aware of these key dates:

  • June 13, 2023: City Council will vote on adopting a resolution accepting the final report of the task force and authorizing the city manager to proceed in implementing its recommendations
  • June 21, 2023: Staff issues a request for proposals to redevelop 1300 Gendy Street
  • September 14, 2023: Initial proposals are due
  • October 2023: Opportunities for public feedback on the proposals

The proposals will also be evaluated by a five-member committee of City staff and community stakeholders.

The goal of a "world-class cultural hub" is certainly lofty. Although this likely will not rival the MoMA, the experience gained through the project will give both local developers and Fort Worth City staff the exposure to the unique challenges that a historically significant arts center will bring.

For those of us not involved in the development, the completed product should offer a wonderful destination for cultural outings. Hopefully developers recognize the demand for artsy berets and create a gift shop -- a preliminary study by Urbanize Dallas (sample size: two) has shown great demand for novelty souvenirs.