Wednesday, April 11, 2012

On The Dried Out Tandy Hills Looking At The Upgraded Tarrant County Courthouse & Bass Family Damage To Downtown Fort Worth

Close Up Look At Beautiful Downtown Fort Worth
I decided to go with my sunny optimistic nature and go to the Tandy Hills today assuming that sufficient time had passed since Sunday's deluge to dry the trails sufficiently to allow mud-free hiking.

My sunny optimistic nature was not disappointed.

But, I would have been happy to have Mother Nature dial back on the humidity a bit.

In the picture I zoomed in, as best I could, on the Tarrant County Courthouse. That is the pointy structure to the right of that short skyscraper that looks like it is not completed yet.

Downtown Fort Worth does not have any, for want of a better way to say it, interestingly designed skyscrapers. I assume there has never been enough money in the downtown Fort Worth skyscraper budget to build a memorable one.

The twin towers to the south of the courthouse, the eastern one of which you see in the picture, are particularly odd. It's like some C-Student architect thought it clever to have cut-outs and indents that give the appearance that the building gave up being completed. And no one thought to tell the C-Student architect that that particular design looks tacky. And so it was built.

I am not sure, but I think these particular twin skyscrapers are buildings that the Bass Family helped bring about. The Bass Family really is responsible for a lot of what ain't right about downtown Fort Worth.

Or so it seems to me.

I know there are those in Fort Worth who are beholden to the wonders that the Bass Family allegedly has brought downtown Fort Worth, but methinks Fort Worth would be a lot better off if the town put on its big boy pants and did not rely on one family's demonstrably bad taste to dictate how the town looks.

Anyway, after a multi-million dollar remodel the Tarrant County Courthouse's clock tower lost the scaffolding that has covered it for a long time. I believe there is still work to be done.

How is the plan to take down the Tarrant County Courthouse Annex coming, you know, that building with the fake covering that looks like yet one more bad downtown Fort Worth building designed by a C-Student architect?

At least that particular eyesore is not called the Bass Tarrant County Courthouse Annex, unlike way too many other eyesores in the downtown Fort Worth zone, that have the Bass name, in various iterations, attached to them.


CatsPaw said...

My goodness, you're cranky today.

Your "C-student" was quite highly-regarded and a former dean of the Yale School of Architecture.

I first came to Fort Worth in 1977. City Center went up between 1978 - 1983. In the late 70s and early 80s, downtown had gotten rather dismal. I used to work in the old Continental National Bank building (now gone) and often had lunch at the Richelieu Cafe (gone) or at the restaurant in the Blackstone Hotel (now the Marriott) where the waitresses were about 80 if they were a day. We hung out after work hours at the old Daddio's where the Flying Saucer is presently. That area was pretty rough and if there had been sagebrush and tumble weeds, they would have been blowing along Main Street after 5 pm.

Regardless of one's view of the Bass family or some of the buildings or development, there's really no question that they have been uniquely instrumental in the revival of downtown.

Durango said...

CatsPaw, I've not detected myself being particularly cranky today. Then again, I'm sorta cranky all the time.

I'm thinking if the guy who designed the referenced skyscraper was highly regarded, that, maybe, this guy was the sort of highly regarded type architect whose building Howard Roark would feel compelled to dynamite.

I think I used "whose" correctly. Please correct me if I am erroneous. I am trying really hard to learn proper English grammar and you are my primary teacher.

CatsPaw said...

Very good usage of "whose" there, your crankiness. Today, you are an A-student all around. :)

MLK said...

Durango, I rarely disagree with your observations, but I'll have to object to your obvious dislike of the Bass family. I lived in Fort Worth when it was not a place to be, nothing to do, no one living down there. Ed Bass built Caravan of Dreams, an excellent music venue which closed a few years ago (still crying about this). He realized he wanted a place to live downtown, so he built Sundance the urban pioneers came and made downtown FTW a great place to live/work/play. I think Fort Worth owes quite a bit to our benefactors. Whereas they do own most of downtown or fund most of the progress there, they do have excellent taste and have Fort Worth's best interest at heart.

GG said...

I agree that the billionaire Bass family has done a lot for revitalizing downtown Fort Worth.

The problem I have with Sundance Square is all the government tax handouts they have gotten in the form of TIFs and sales tax rebates over the years. And they are still going to the trough for another $11 million in TIF money and $2.5 million in city sales tax rebates for the new buildings that will be near the new public, I mean, private plaza. I'm amazed at how the public simply ignores government handouts to billionaires, but gets outraged if some poor person gets a housing voucher or welfare benefit.

If the Bass family really has Fort Worth's best interest at heart, they wouldn't be asking for all this public tax money for their private projects. It's not like $2.5 million over 15 years means a whole lot to a billionaire. But it could certainly help pay for fixing/maintaining public pools, improving rather than cutting library funding, and giving city workers some of the salary back that they lost in furloughs, to name a few examples.

As a FW outsider, I don't think this 'tax taking' is acceptable behavior for billionaires who own most of downtown.