Panther Island / Central City | In The News

CBS 11: Fort Worth Police Returning To Old Training Center That May Not Be Usable In 5 Years

FORT WORTH (CBS11) – Seven years ago Fort Worth sold its aging police and fire training center on Calvert St., and moved out. Now, police are getting ready to move back in.

City crews are putting in walls, adding doors, and finishing work turning training rooms into office space. The $2.2 million project includes upgrading electrical, heating, air conditioning and running cable for computers.

A couple hundred employees are expected to move in in April. They may have to move out again though in less than five years.

While the training center was aging, it’s also is in the way of the Trinity River Vision, an effort to reshape the city’s north side, and reroute the Trinity River. One of the new channels would run across the edge of the property, and potentially a road through the middle of it.

That’s one of the reasons the city sold the property in 2011 for more than $4 million to the Tarrant Regional Water District.

“When we sold this facility, we were getting out of it, and we weren’t coming back,” said Steve Cooke, the director of property management for the city. “So there was really not a contemplation of re-using this space for us at all.”

That changed when Fort Worth sold the remaining space it had for police downtown. Cooke said purchases, long term leases and building in the downtown area was expensive. They decided to use money from the sale of the old training center, to renovate it and move back in.

The city was already leasing the building from TRWD for $10 a year. With free parking, Cooke said the expense works out to about 55-cents per square foot a month, if they can stay there for five years.

Just how long police will be able to stay in the building isn’t clear yet. The lease runs through July of 2022, with one-year options to extend beyond that.

The Trinity River Vision though still has a timeline to potentially start digging the channel that would impact the property by 2022.

“There’s a section of that property that we knew was needed for construction of the channel, that would be underwater,” said Matt Oliver, the communication manager for the Trinity River Vision Authority.

Oliver said until then, the TRVA was glad to have the building occupied.

Cooke said the city will use the time now to develop a plan for a more permanent location for police.