Uniform company to expand into historic Parker-Browne Building in Fort Worth

03/06/2014 4:56 PM

03/06/2014 4:59 PM

The historic Parker-Browne Building on East Lancaster Avenue, tagged for a possible residential redevelopment a decade ago, has been bought by the owners of a neighboring uniform company for expansion.

Robert McCarthy bought the three-story, 18,000-square-foot building at 1212 E. Lancaster Ave. from Paulos Properties in mid-February, deed records show.

McCarthy said he plans to use the first and second floors for his uniform business, Gotcha Covered, now at 1200 E. Lancaster, and then use the current 8,000-square-foot uniform store for his Cheyenne Construction Co., now in Keller. The third floor of the Parker-Browne Building will be leased to Marketocracy, a San Francisco-based investment firm.

Gotcha Covered has sold police, fire, postal and industrial uniforms for 16 years, the last five on Lancaster Avenue.

McCarthy is seeking a $350,000, five-year Urban Development Action Grant loan, and a $90,000 tax abatement and permit waivers from the city for the project.

Under terms of the loan, McCarthy must invest $2.1 million in the property by Dec. 31, 2015 and occupy the building by March 31, 2016, and create or relocate 20 jobs.

Because of the federal dollars involved in the project, McCarthy must also run a job training program for the homeless through the Presbyterian Night Shelter, across Lancaster Avenue from the building, for a year. If the commitments are met, the loan will be forgiven.

McCarthy said he has been in talks with the Presbyterian Night Shelter about the training program for about six months.

“We spend lots of dollars feeding people, we really want to teach them how to fish,” McCarthy told City Council members on Tuesday. “We want to take a leap of faith. It’s a perfect opportunity to create some opportunity for those less fortunate. Moving folks on to being self-sustained, it’s the essence of what we’re trying to do. We want to be a part of that.”

The building, which dates to 1924, was built as a carbonated drink plant and later used by the Works Progress Administration and Bekins Storage Co. Fran McCarthy, who has done several redevelopment projects on the city’s near south side and is Robert McCarthy’s brother, will oversee the project.

Councilman Danny Scarth said the proposed redevelopment “is what these incentives were intended to do. Even without the training program, just on its face, to put a $2.1 million investment on the near east side in this building, to continue to have a business down there, is a big deal.”

The council will vote on the incentive March 25.

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