Fort Worth

Historic Fort Worth funeral home property saved from wrecking ball

The Meissner-Brown Funeral Home in Fort Worth in May was named to Historic Fort Worth's 2015 Endangered Places list. The city has found a buyer for the property.
The Meissner-Brown Funeral Home in Fort Worth in May was named to Historic Fort Worth's 2015 Endangered Places list. The city has found a buyer for the property. Star-Telegram archives

Once scheduled for demolition, the City Council Tuesday is scheduled to approve the sale of the historic, former Meissner-Brown Funeral Home on the city’s east side to a Farmers Branch-based construction firm that specializes in historic building restoration.

The building at 2717 Avenue B in Fort Worth’s Polytechnic neighborhood, built in 1937 in the Spanish Eclectic style, earlier this year was named to Historic Fort Worth’s Endangered Places list.

In 1991, the property was designated by the city as a Fort Worth Historic and Cultural Landmark. It operated as a funeral home until the 1980s and was last owned by Mt. Moriah Baptist Church, property records show.

Phoenix 1 Restoration submitted a direct sale bid of $24,529 to the city’s property management department to buy the tax-foreclosed property, according to a city report. The city obtained the property through a constable sale in March 2014. There were no bidders and the property was “struck off” to the city for $71,030, or the amount owed in back taxes, according to deed records.

The council is expected to approve the “as is” sale for a total cost of $27,843, which includes $3,314 in court costs and fees. The sale must still be approved by other taxing entities, the city report said.

Dale Sellers, president and CEO of Phoenix 1, could not be reached for comment on the purchase.

In January, the city began requesting to demolish the 8,285-square-foot building from the Historic and Cultural Landmarks Commission. The city put the property up for bid in July, but was scheduled to demolish the structure in mid-October.

In September, the nonprofit Historic Fort Worth sent an email to about 4,500 people seeking interest in saving the property.

A dozen people responded and two joined the organization, city representatives and Councilwoman Kelly Allen Gray in discussions, said Jerre Tracy, the organization’s executive director.

Sellers is known for the many courthouse restorations his firm has handled in Texas, Tracy said. He also did a major project at the organization’s historic McFarland House on Penn Street near downtown, she said.

“Dale’s firm is a major restoration force and he was able to fulfill all of the requirements to do the project,” Tracy said. “We are simply delighted that this building is being saved.”

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