Million-dollar T&P Station in Fort Worth renovation to begin in 2023
See full KERA News article by Sandra Sadek with Fort Worth Report here.
Fort Worth’s iconic Texas & Pacific Station on West Lancaster Avenue will get a $1.5 million facelift to better welcome visitors and enhance the station’s architectural design.
Construction is expected to begin in early 2023, according to a presentation made by Andy Taft, president of Downtown Fort Worth Inc. to the Lancaster Tax Increment Financing District on Nov. 2.
Funding will come from the Lancaster TIF, and project partners include Downtown Fort Worth, Inc., Trinity Metro, the city of Fort Worth, Texas and Pacific Lofts Condominium Association, Texas & Pacific Tavern and Grill, the United States Postal Service and Near Southside Inc.
The improvements will allow for better connectivity between the passenger platform and Lancaster Avenue. This includes a newly designed plaza in front of the building as well as signage to indicate the station’s entrance, improving visibility and accessibility.
“We’re going to build a very elegant pathway from Lancaster Avenue to the front door of the terminal and make it very obvious to people who are looking to catch the train or who are coming from the train into downtown what their path of travel should be,” Taft said. “We also want to create a very strong arrival moment.”
Melissa Konur, planning director at Downtown Fort Worth Inc., said creating “a sense of arrival and a gateway moment is really critical.”
“Without these improvements, it is very difficult to navigate through in either direction, either through a sea of parking or through the space because of the nature of the space and what the lay of the land is between Lancaster and the actual T&P building and station,” she said.
The archways inside the station tunnel leading up to the platform will be closed and filled with photos and stories of the people who built the rails and visited the station, similar to an exhibit, Taft said.
“What’s interesting about that piece is that those stories can change as people supply photos and stories of their friends and relatives. We’ll be able to digitize those images and change them out over time so those can be a revolving storytelling opportunity,” Taft said.
The goal of this exhibition is to highlight the history of the station and the role it played in Fort Worth over the years, Konur said.
“Storytelling is a really important part to establishing the area as more than just a train station, but a place that really impacted people’s lives and Fort Worth, in terms of arrival and departures and jobs and upward mobility and all of that,” Konur said.
Trinity Metro will be responsible for maintaining these new elements.
Trinity Metro is also looking for someone to operate the lobby inside the station – either as a restaurant or an inviting waiting area — although discussions are still in their infancy, said Chad Edwards, vice president of planning and development at Trinity Metro.
“We’re trying to try to figure out how we can activate that space so that we can open up the doors that are there, that people have a much easier path to get from Lancaster through those doors into the station and onto the train,” he said. “But we can’t do that just yet until we have more activity and more purpose for that particular area.”
The upgrades to the station are the latest in a series of projects along West Lancaster Avenue to redevelop the south-end corridor of downtown. This includes the Omni Hotel expansion, the Sheraton Hotel rebranding, the Texas A&M law school expansion and the anticipated convention center expansion.
“The fact that we will have this in place well before the convention center is expanded and the Omni expands and Texas A&M expands will mean people are going to be used to us and will understand that the train station is a part of the downtown community well in advance of all of these new people coming to downtown Fort Worth,” Taft said.
A request for proposals for the project was opened in 2019, followed by two public input meetings in 2021. The station was built in 1931 and is considered a prime example of Art Deco architecture in Fort Worth. The main waiting room of the station was renovated in 1999.