How the iconic T&P Station could be a gateway to downtown Fort Worth again
See full Fort Worth Star-Telegram article by Luke Ranker here.
A mild remodel of Fort Worth’s iconic Texas & Pacific Station aims to make it more accessible from downtown and more inviting to commuters.
Eventually the station passage could be an easy route for those wanting to walk between downtown and the Near Southside.
Currently there is no formal entry to the T&P Station off West Lancaster Avenue and getting to the train platform from downtown is a bit of a chore. A locked door is likely to greet anyone who goes to the old front entrance. Instead train passengers must walk around the building to the east and to the back, entering by the T&P Tavern. From there they must walk down a tunnel and up to the platform at the rear of the building.
A $1.75 million project hopes to correct the confusion by opening the traditional T&P entrance, making access to the platform more direct. Downtown Fort Worth Inc. is looking for public input on how the entrance to the station should be improved. Forums are scheduled for June 23 at 5:30 p.m. and June 24 at noon.
The project should make the T&P a gateway to downtown, said Andy Taft, president of Downtown Fort Worth Inc.
“It is an iconic building that’s connected to an iconic street,” Taft said. “We want to make sure that our visitors coming to Fort Worth, or leaving Fort Worth on the train, have a very positive experience from the platform all the way to downtown.”
The Wyatt C. Hedrick-designed Art Deco station at 221 W. Lancaster was built in 1929 and opened in 1931. Trinity Rail Express and TEXRail serve the station, which was once a hub for passenger rail in North Texas. The building has been renovated into condos.
Most of the work will be on the exterior: Creating a landscaped walkway from Lancaster to the T&P building. Large planters and part of the parking lot block pedestrian access to the main entrance from Lancaster Avenue. Designs have not been finalized, Taft said. Funding will come from a special tax district used for downtown projects.
Plans do not include changing the historic character of the nearly 100-year-old building, through the tunnel to the train platform will see some improvements, he said.
The passage would be a prime way to connect pedestrians to the Near Southside, said Mike Brennan, director of Near Southside Inc., but work on a development next to the station would need to be completed first.
The city, Trinity Metro and the Near Southside have been working with developer Matthews Southwest to bring a mix of retail and affordable housing to the south of the train station. The project, dubbed Katy Station Lofts, fronts Vickery Boulevard.
The location is a Trinity Metro parking lot and is seen as a way to bring activity to Vickery and further connect the Near Southside to downtown, Brennan said. The housing component includes a blend of market rate and mixed income units while the ground floor would be reserved for retail and a day care service.
Work on the project has paused as the partners assess possible federal transportation funding.
On the Lancaster side of the station, work on the T&P entrance is just one of a few projects that should bring increased activity to the southern edge of downtown.
Down the street to the west, owners of the Burnett Lotts, a 330 unit apartment building at 601 W. 13th Street, have opened for pre-leasing. Construction on Kent Lofts, a 248 unit building on the southeast corner of Main Street and Lancaster Avenue, should begin later this year.