Today’s story in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram about Tarrant County’s inability to pay for the demolition of the civil courts building is just another knife in the back compliments of RadioShack.
Let’s stroll down memory lane:
In 2001, RadioShack buys two-dozen acres of land from the city for its new headquarters, requiring hundreds of poor people to be moved from their homes at the Ripley Arnold housing complex.
The city of Fort Worth caved in to RadioShack’s threats to leave town and promised the company decades of tax breaks, rebates, and incentive packages worth at least $67 million just to honor us with its presence.
One of the first thing the company did is to close the free parking lot that held about 3,000 cars a day, and then kill the subway system (shown below) that was unique and charming and served a vital purpose to downtown visitors.
RadioShack’s $200 million headquarters — all 900,000 square feet of it — is built in 2005, requiring new street lights to be installed and more traffic stops to make when trying to get through downtown.
Then, RadioShack sells the building to a foreign company for a $22 million profit, and leases back its space. Then Tarrant County College buys the corporate campus, exempting much of the property taxes that were expected to come from the building.
And that means less money for the county, which was counting on that money to demolish Fort Worth’s ugliest downtown building — the Tarrant County civil courts building with the fake, painted facade (see photo below) that is an embarrassment to anyone with eyeballs.
Last year, rumors abounded that RadioShack was bolting to Florida, but the company decided to stay and twist more arms at City Hall and beg for more millions.
And today the Fort Worth City Council caved in again, agreeing to $10.7 million more in tax rebates.
In a nod to sanity, three council members — Kathleen Hicks, Jungus Jordan and Zim Zimmerman –broke ranks with the Mayor Mike Moncrief Stronghold and voted against giving more charity to a company that seems to stick yet another knife in Fort Worth’s back at every opportunity.
On the other hand, why blame RadioShack for arm-twisting a cash-strapped city if Moncrief and gang are willing to fork over more favors?