Ciera Bank is moving ahead with plans to redevelop the prominent site of its Fort Worth branch overlooking Interstate 30 at Summit Avenue.
The bank won conceptual approval of its plan Thursday from the city’s Downtown Design Review Board, with the proviso that the bank work with city staff and Downtown Fort Worth Inc. on traffic mitigation and design of a small planned private park on the highway frontage of the site, and present a highway frontage landscaping plan to the board. Ciera must also present a plan for signage, which wasn’t part of the case before the board Thursday.
“We’re going to fast track all of this as much as we can,” Charlie Powell, Ciera’s president, said in an interview after the board’s decision.
Ciera plans to raze the 15,692-square-foot building, at the northeast corner of the intersection, and put up a three-story brick building with more than 21,000 square feet.
The first - and, likely, the second floor - would house Ciera’s offices. The third floor would have six apartments under the conceptual plan. The second and third floors would overhang the bank’s drivethrough.
The bank entry would be on the north side of the buiilding. The building would sit in the middle of the site, hugging Summit, with parking on the north and south sides and the drive-through on the east end.
A parking lot on the south side of the building for employees and tenants would have access off of Summit. The visitor parking lot on the north side of the building would have access off of Rio Grande Avenue, which intersects Summit.
Ciera proposes to shield the parking lot facing I-30 with trees at the curb. It plans an art piece and landscaping on the small park that it would own and maintain.
Tom Malone of Fort Worth is the architect and was one of three review board members who recused themselves Thursday because of relationships with Ciera. Another board member, Henry Borbolla, is a Ciera executive.
Ciera will have to obtain federal approval to move its branch off the site while the construction is ongoing, Powell said.
“We’re in the process right now of identifying the timeframe” and what the final project plans will look like, Powell said.
Board members praised the redevelopment plan. “This is exciting to see,” Nina Petty, the board chair, said.
The small Sunset Terrace Neighborhood Association, represented by the Fort Worth businessman and Tom Reynolds, who lives in the neighborhood, supported the case but is concerned about traffic and panhandlers who frequently work the intersection.
“It’s exciting to think we may have a few new neighbors,” Reynolds said. The neighborhood has more than 20 residents, including an apartment house and five single-family homes, Reynolds said.
The area, which is close to downtown and West Seventh and just off the eastern terminus of the Chisholm Trail Parkway, will have appeal to younger residents, said Reynolds, who has participated in a number of developments off of South Main Street in recent years.
On South Main, investors and developers have found a niche among younger people. “It’s a demographic that maybe we didn’t know about,” Reynolds said in an interview.