City Council: New street name, downtown skybridge, tax abatement

June 15,2018


Fort Worth Business Press article by Rick Mauch 

Some odds and ends from the June 13 Fort Worth City Council meeting and work session

SAME STREET, NEW NAME

Folks driving down a familiar street in Northeast Fort Worth may see a new name on the street signs. The council adopted an ordinance changing the name of Bell Helicopter Boulevard to Bell Flight Boulevard. The street is between Hurst Boulevard (State Highway 10) and Trinity Boulevard.

Bell Helicopter Textron Inc. asked for the street name change as a component of the company name change from Bell Helicopter to Bell. The company is paying the cost of changing the street signs.

DOWNTOWN SKYBRIDGE

Getting around downtown just got a little easier as the city on June 12 approved two encroachment agreements with Sinclair Holdings LLC.

The council authorized the construction of a skybridge over the public alleyway between Fourth and Fifth streets, along with a pedestrian tunnel.

The skybridge and tunnel will connect the Sanger Building to the Sinclair Building. The tunnel will provide access for a restaurant in the Sinclair building.

District 9 Councilwoman Ann Zadeh said the buildings are being renovated with uses including a high-end hotel. She said they are literally just a few feet apart, separated only by a small alley.

"I think it's more of a functionality thing to make good use of two historical buildings," she said. "I'm not in favor of a lot of skybridges in the downtown area because I like activity on the street, but I don't think this is going to affect pedestrian activity in that area."

The term of the agreement will be 30 years with an annual license fee of $.56 per square foot of encroachment. The annual fee for the skybridge will be $146.72 and $44.80 for the pedestrian tunnel.

The application fee for each agreement and the first year of encroachment fees have been paid on both agreements.

AMERICAN AIRLINES ABATEMENT

The council on June 12 approved revamping a tax abatement agreement between American Airlines and the Dallas Fort Worth International Airport board for development of the airline’s corporate headquarters facility at the airport.

"Anything that brings improvement to Trinity Boulevard gets a motion to approve," said an enthusiastic District 5 Councilwoman Gyna Bivens, in whose district the property lies.

The original agreement was made in November 2015. In June of 2017, the council authorized an enhanced community facilities agreement to reimburse up to $950,000of construction costs, the local required match of 20 percent.

The company wants to expand the project to include widened road and turn lanes on Trinity Boulevard and southbound U.S. Highway 360 frontage road to accommodate the additional employee traffic at a total cost of about $7 million.

The 2017 agreement was never executed. Approval of the new agreement increases the city’s participation up to $1.7 million.

The work must still be completed by Dec. 31, 2019, subject to any unforeseen approved delays or extensions.