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After a month of whirlwind talks, Loutex Fort Worth and a subsidiary of Trammell Crow Co. have sealed a purchase pact for the tornado-damaged 35-story Bank One tower in the heart of downtown Ft. Worth.

TC Dallast/Fort Worth Investment and Development Ltd. has 45 days to complete a due diligence review on the property which includes the tower and an adjacent six-story annex housing office and a 940-space parking garage. Loutex and Trammell Crow, the building’s property manager, are hopeful for an October closing.

“Having been both a tenant and the property manager of the tower, we are very familiar with its potential, and we are optimistic about the role that it will play in the city’s future,” says Trammell Crow executive Jim Eagle in a prepared statement. The purchase will mark TCC’s first property ownership in Tarrant County although it leases and manages in excess of 9.6 million sf of office and industrial space in the region. TCC officials predict building repairs will easily stretch into the first quarter to bring the building back to its pre-tornado state.

About a month ago, Loutex halted extensive repairs and issued vacate notices to the building’s 65 tenants, claiming restoration of the glass tower was cost prohibitive. Talks quietly began as street rumors began to float about an imminent sale – a deal that came about late Thursday night. One tenant, the Reata restaurant, immediately filed an injunction request and managed to stall a Loutex-imposed 30-day eviction deadline until October.

The 487,000-sf building along Throckmorton St. was 93% leased when the March 28 tornado passed through the downtown, shattering 3,200 of the tower’s 3,400 large glass windows which remained boarded today. Loutex’s structural assessment also raised the issue of damaging molds in the HVAC system, a repair that the company says pushed recovery costs over the edge for the limited partnership. The 134,000-sf supplemental structure has been operational while its sister property has seen just a handful of its tenant base return in the wake of the repair work. There is no word as to which tenants will stay and which will go, including anchor tenant Bank One.

The Bank One tower was one of 11 buildings sold in fall 1998 by Bank One Corp. to Loutex, which has claimed repair costs would far exceed the 26-year-old structure’s $30 million value.Sale terms are not being disclosed.

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