An artist’s rendering of the planned $450 million arena at the Will Rogers Memorial Center. The Fort Worth City Council voted 9-0 Tuesday night to spend $7 million to buy the remaining land needed for the arena. Courtesy City of Fort Worth
An artist’s rendering of the planned $450 million arena at the Will Rogers Memorial Center. The Fort Worth City Council voted 9-0 Tuesday night to spend $7 million to buy the remaining land needed for the arena. Courtesy City of Fort Worth

Fort Worth

Fort Worth council approves final land purchase for arena project

April 12, 2016 07:44 PM

FORT WORTH

The City Council voted 9-0 Tuesday night to spend $7 million to buy the remaining land on Montgomery Street needed for the planned $450 million arena project at the Will Rogers Memorial Center.

The city will buy 2.567 acres from Bodycote, a U.K. thermal processing services company. It is the second tract the city is buying from the company. In December, Fort Worth officials paid $692,500 to buy 0.263 acre at Bryce Avenue and Montgomery Street. The new arena and parking garage will sit on 22.3 acres.

The deal to buy the second tract is expected to close in the next few weeks, said Susan Alanis, an assistant city manager.

Under terms of the sale, Bodycote will be allowed to stay on the property until Dec. 31. The city will still incur the cost of moving Bodycote from the property and setting up equipment at the company’s new site, which is not yet determined. Those costs have not yet been determined.

Help us deliver journalism that makes a difference in our community.

Our journalism takes a lot of time, effort, and hard work to produce. If you read and enjoy our journalism, please consider subscribing today.

“They’ve already been working towards planning a three-phase move starting this summer,” Alanis said.

Also under terms of the deal, the city accepts all environmental responsibility for the property, which does have some contaminated soil, according to an environmental report obtained by the Star-Telegram.

For many years, the property has been used as heat treating facilities and hazardous chemicals are used during that process. As a result, the city knew there was a chance the soil would have some contamination, Alanis said.

Negotiations for the Bodycote site began more than a year ago, but buying the site was contingent on an environmental study of the property, which has been an industrial site for 80 years. The property is believed to have been commercially developed in 1936 with United Machine Works and Dunn Brother General Contractors, according to the report.

The environmental study shows elevated levels of arsenic, barium and lead in an estimated 2,000 cubic yards of soil at three specific locations on the site that officials hope can be remedied with soil work, but the concentrations weren’t high enough to be a major concern beyond that.

We have a pretty high degree of confidence that the work that has been done is adequate enough to show what is at the site right now and that our remediation plan will successfully remove the contaminates.

Cody Whittenburg, Fort Worth’s environmental manager

Moving dirt

“In this case, the most logical step for remediation would be to dig up the soil and haul it off site to a land fill that can receive those types of materials,” said Cody Whittenburg, the city’s environmental manager. “We have a pretty high degree of confidence that the work that has been done is adequate enough to show what is at the site right now and that our remediation plan will successfully remove the contaminates.”

The amount of dirt would fill about 17 school buses, he said.

Costs are estimated at $101,000 to remove the soil and transport it to a landfill that can take it, the report said.

The city paid $15,768 to the Dallas office of Oklahoma City-based Enercon to conduct the environment assessment of the property. A site visit was done in early April 2015 and soil samples from eight spots on the property were taken Aug. 24 and 25, the report said.

As part of the report, Enercon also reviewed federal and state regulatory records. That search showed no serious violations reported, the report said.

The city has set aside $12.2 million in seed money for the arena project from the Culture & Tourism Capital Projects Fund. It’s expected to be completed for the 2020 Stock Show.

The city’s involvement in the arena project is capped at $225 million, mostly coming from special use taxes. The remaining $225 million is being paid by Event Facilities Fort Worth, a nonprofit group created in 2000 that supports the Fort Worth Stock Show and Rodeo at Will Rogers.

Event Facilities is overseeing all construction of the project, including the environmental remediation. The city, though, said it will have input at every step. In November, the City Council approved signing a master agreement with Event Facilities to lease and operate the arena.