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Historic Texas Train Terminal Building Rides into the Future

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Here now, Past Lives, in which Curbed contributor Chris Berger explores what some of the country's most interesting residential buildings used to be before they became livable homes. Care to suggest a building with a fascinating past life? Do drop us a line.

Eighty years ago, Fort Worth's leaders sought a passenger train station that would help the Texas city shed its image as a place where cattle went to die. They got their wish with the Wyatt C. Hedrick-designed Texas and Pacific Railway Passenger Terminal. The Art Deco station and office building included a lavish, segregated lobby—with brass, glass, plaster, and marble embellishments—that left travelers with a lasting impression of Fort Worth. Completed in 1931, the 12-story landmark, like so many of its kind and era, fell into disuse thanks to the proliferation of automobiles and interstate highways.

Rail travel began to decline shortly after the terminal opened, and the last passenger train stopped in 1967. Over the next three decades the building was under utilized and isolated from downtown by elevated I-30. Listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1978, preservationists successfully rallied to save the old T and P Terminal in the 1980s when it was slated for demolition as part of interstate expansion plans.

It was the former terminal's architectural significance that led to its revival. In 1999, the lobby was meticulously restored to its original appearance in preparation for its return to use as a depot, this time for the Trinity Railway Express, a commuter rail line in the Dallas and Fort Worth metro area. Shortly thereafter, I-30 was moved, reconnecting the T and P Terminal with downtown. Renaissance Development Co. and Wood Partners purchased the building in 2003, and, aided by government tax incentives, the upper floors were retrofitted for residency. Construction crews stripped the dingy former offices down to the terrazzo floors and concrete ceilings and walls. The spaces were then sliced into 228 homes, ranging in size from approximately 550 to 1,400 square feet. Rechristened the T and P Lofts, the residences opened in 2006.

In addition to a rail terminal and homes, the building includes the T and P Tavern in the ground floor space once occupied by the station's diner. A new, 92-unit condominium building was built on the property in a style that mimics the historic terminal. And work on the former Texas and Pacific property isn't over. Plans are under way to reconfigure the T and P's former warehouse into 260 apartments.

As of this writing, the units for sale at the T and P Lofts range from $118,000 for a 566-square-foot studio to $239,521 for a two bedroom, two bath condo that measures 1,389 square feet.

With its proximity to downtown Fort Worth, easy access to public transportation, and architecturally unique homes, residents are drawn to the T and P Lofts building. Or maybe it's the in-house bar they find so appealing. No matter the draw, the T and P Lofts have helped distinguish Fort Worth, and for that the leaders who commissioned the building would be glad.

· Texas and Pacific Lofts [Highrises.com]
· Texas and Pacific Depot (PDF; historic information)
· Texas & Pacific Lofts [Wood Partners]