The owners of the long-vacant T&P Warehouse have been given an additional 60 days to continue working to get the mammoth property on Lancaster Avenue up to minimum building standards.
The Historic and Cultural Landmarks Commission on Monday agreed to put off a decision until April 10 on whether the property at 401 W. Lancaster Ave. can be “reasonably rehabilitated” as a property contributing to the city’s heritage. The request was made by the city’s planning and development and code-compliance departments.
This is the second extension from the Landmarks Commission. The first was made Jan. 9 for 30 days.
The action follows an inspection of the eight-story, 85-year-old building by city officials and the owner, Dallas-based Cleopatra Inc., in December. The inspection resulted in a long list of code violations including excessive standing water in the basement, holes in the roof and exterior brick, missing and broken windows, and extensive graffiti on historic masonry.
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Cleopatra Inc. has owned the building for 20 years with plans to redevelop it into apartments, a hotel, offices, shops and restaurants. But a lack of movement on the project has frustrated city officials.
The city’s crackdown comes as development of Lancaster Avenue is taking off.
The city-funded Pinnacle Bank Place residential development is nearing completion. Meanwhile, construction is slated to start soon on private developments at both ends of Lancaster, including the 200-unit Cadillac Lofts and the 250-unit Burnett Lofts across from the warehouse.
As the building deteriorates it becomes even more endangered. The T&P is in much need of repairs.
Fernando Costa, Fort Worth assistant city manager
Assistant City Manager Fernando Costa said the city can’t force the T&P’s owner to convert the building back into productive use, but it has advised Cleopatra Inc. to make the much-needed repairs “in a timely manner.”
If they don’t, Costa said the city is prepared to use the code violations against them. Work has started at the site.
“As the building deteriorates it becomes even more endangered,” Costa said. “They appear to be responding favorably to our request.”
Nadeem Shoukry, son of owner Ola Assem, could not be reached for comment Monday.
Ray Boothe, a Fort Worth architect and developer who is working with Cleopatra on the project, said they “have made significant progress” fixing the code violations and other concerns. Truckloads of trash have been cleared from around the building and security fencing has been reinstalled, he said.
Everything we’re doing now is in anticipation of a project. It’s all in line with long-term plans of revitalizing the building.
Ray Boothe, architect and developer working on the T&P Warehouse
Boothe said Assem “does fully intend to renovate the building. Everything we’re doing now is in anticipation of a project. It’s all in line with long-term plans of revitalizing the building.”
City Councilman Jungus Jordan said recently that the building is becoming a public nuisance.
“It is of deep concern,” Jordan said, because “we truly want to save the building.”