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Sundance Square just acquired this downtown Fort Worth office building

Sundance Square has bought the Petroleum Building in downtown Fort Worth from XTO Energy.
Sundance Square has bought the Petroleum Building in downtown Fort Worth from XTO Energy. dkent@star-telegram.com

FORT WORTHSundance Square, among downtown Fort Worth’s largest property owners, has added the Petroleum Building to its portfolio following the recent purchase of the building from XTO Energy.

XTO Energy, an oil and gas subsidiary of ExxonMobil, will lease back the building through July, but it has the option to extend that lease for an additional year, according to deed records.

Sundance Square did not say what its plans are for the 14-story office building once XTO moves out.

“The availability of the Petroleum Building presented a great opportunity to bring the landmark building into our portfolio,” Johnny Campbell, Sundance Square CEO, said in a statement released Monday.

The sale comes six months after XTO put the office building and an adjoining 534-space parking garage on the block. The property takes up a full city block between Fifth and Sixth streets and Houston and Throckmorton streets. The parking garage eventually will be incorporated into Sundance Square’s free parking program for guests, it said.

With the addition of the Petroleum Building, Sundance Square said it has about 4 million square feet of office, retail, and residential in 44 buildings.

The sale closed Jan. 19, deed records show. A sales price was not disclosed. The Tarrant Appraisal District appraises the property at about $9 million.

Sundance Square bought the building under the entity Sundance Parliament of Owls, Llc., part of Fine Line Diversified Realty Inc., a real estate arm of billionaire businessman Ed Bass, deed records show.

Sundance Square encompasses 35 blocks, some with historic buildings it redeveloped for shops, restaurants, offices and residences. It’s also built several office buildings, but is known for its signature office buildings, the 33-story Well Fargo Tower at Second and Main, and the 38-story Bank of America Tower at Third and Commerce.

More recently, Sundance Square built The Carnegie at Third and Taylor streets, and The Commerce Building and The Westbrook, which bookend Sundance Square Plaza, and The Cassidy at Third and Houston streets.

This is the first property Sundance Square has bought in downtown since 2010, when it acquired a 15,000-square-foot parcel at the southwest corner of Third and Commerce, which gave it the land needed to complete its 1-acre outdoor plaza.

In June, XTO Energy announced it was pulling the majority of its Barnett Shale operations out of downtown Fort Worth and moving them to Houston. About 1,600 employees will leave downtown by 2020, but about 350 employees will stay.

JLL Executive Vice President Ryan Matthews represented XTO Energy in the transaction.

“We’re very proud of the outcome,” Matthews said in a statement. “XTO hoped to secure a buyer who understood the level importance the Petroleum Building has for downtown Fort Worth. Sundance Square obviously fits this profile. We know that this historic asset is in great hands.”

Built in 1927, the Petroleum Building has about 117,000 square feet of space, while the 12-story parking garage has two levels with about 31,000 square feet of retail or office space.

The award-winning building was last restored in 2004 by XTO Energy under the tutelage of its former CEO and a founder Bob Simpson. Simpson has received national recognition from the preservation community for his work in restoring old buildings.

XTO was acquired by ExxonMobil in 2010. The company put its portfolio of six downtown office buildings and other land on the market right after the move was announced.

In August of 2017, it sold a 50,000-square-foot building at 801 Grove St. to the Fort Worth Transportation Authority, which said it will move its headquarters there. That same month, it sold a tract off Ninth and Commerce streets to Southern Land Co., a Nashville-based developer planning a 32-story apartment tower, the first high-rise exclusively built for residences downtown.

In December, it sold the Binyon-O’Keefe Building at 210 E. 7th St. to an entity called 210 E. 7th St. Llc., whose managing members are Jim Finley, CEO of Fort Worth-based Finley Resources, and real estate developer Steven Nichols, records show. The men financed the purchase with an $8 million note to Southwest Bank, deed records show. They, too, leased the building back to XTO through July of 2020, deed records show.

Last year, XTO also sold the historic Swift & Co. building at 600 Exchange Ave. in the Stockyards to Fort Worth-based Swift Building Llc. The group, managed by Jack Huff and Benjamin Rosenthal, financed the purchase with a $3.1 million note with Pegasus bank, deed records show.

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