RadioShack opened headquarters complex even as its fortunes were about to turn

RadioShack headquarters nearing completion in 2004.
RadioShack headquarters nearing completion in 2004. Star-Telegram archives

RadioShack has been a major presence in downtown Fort Worth for as long as the retailer has been here. But it made a lasting impression on the city 10 years ago.

For years, RadioShack had its headquarters in the Tandy Center office towers, the twin, 20-story buildings between Third and Weatherford streets, and Taylor and Throckmorton streets. The property has since been redeveloped as City Place, multitenant office towers, by a Dallas developer.

In 2005, RadioShack moved into a gleaming new office complex on the banks of the Trinity River, but within months sold the 31-acre site to a German real estate investment firm. Tarrant County College District now owns the property and will likely take over the space when RadioShack moves out, converting it to classrooms and offices. RadioShack’s lease is set to expire in 2018.

According to its bankruptcy filing, RadioShack owes TCC $470,833.33 in back rent. A TCC spokeswoman said Thursday the district was “not in a position to confirm any of that” and declined to comment further.

RadioShack’s riverfront headquarters came into being after the company paid the Fort Worth Housing Authority $20 million in 2001 to buy the former 24-acre Ripley Arnold public housing complex at Belknap and Burnett streets. Four years later, RadioShack opened its $200 million, 900,000-square-foot, four-building corporate campus overlooking the Trinity. At that time, RadioShack said it had 2,365 workers downtown.

But by December 2005, the company’s fortunes were beginning to turn. RadioShack sold the campus to the German real estate firm KanAm Grund Kapitalanlagegesellschaft for $222 million and leased it back for 20 years. The campus, designed to change the corporate culture from the old Tandy Corp. days, featured a fitness center, a large cafe and dining area, and an extensive art collection.

The Fort Worth City Council had approved an incentive package worth as much as $96 million over 30 years to help RadioShack build the new headquarters. The incentives included tax rebates and the creation of a tax increment financing district. RadioShack received less than 10 percent of those incentives.

In 2010, however, when RadioShack was looking to relocate, the City Council renewed the tax rebates to keep the company in the city and capped the payment at $10.7 million.

In 2008, the German owner sold the property to the Tarrant County College District, which opened its Trinity River campus there. RadioShack has continued to lease the property, but beginning in early 2013, it began scaling back on its space.

In 2003, RadioShack held a gala groundbreaking for the Trinity River campus, touting it as the beginning of a new era for the company. RadioShack built four buildings, but the site was large enough to put up to two more office buildings on the west side of the complex.

“We will leave a legacy here in Fort Worth,” then-CEO Len Roberts told the crowd.

Sandra Baker, 817-390-7727

Twitter: @SandraBakerFWST

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