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FORT WORTH-Getting a seat at the heart of the city’s Cultural District, Times Ten Cellars of Dallas has just acquired a 50-year-old former pecan shelling factory for its second location in the metroplex. The all-in cost will be $3.5 million to $4.5 million for acquisition and conversion of existing office space into a wine bar, tasting room and events space.

Kert Platner, one of three partners in the winery, tells GlobeSt.com that Times Ten’s plan is to occupy 8,000 sf and lease the 14,000-sf balance of 1100 Foch St. to retail tenants that would complement the wine bar and the Cultural District. With the deed now in hand, he says the next move is to apply for a state license for the location.

The sellers, Tom Struhs and Elizabeth Falconer, have four months to relocate their commercial real estate and design businesses, according to Platner. In the interim, RKP Design of Dallas will start designing the interior, which will include vaulting the ceilings and exposing original beams to create an environment with character as Times Ten Cellars has in Dallas in a historic US post office building, built in 1945 at 6324 Prospect Ave. in the Lakewood District. If all goes as planned, construction will begin in December or early January and possibly be done for an August 2009 opening, the same month they christened the Dallas winery in 2005.

Roger Chieffalo of Chieffalo Realty in Fort Worth had been scouting the district for Times Ten Cellars for a few months when Struhs and Falconer asked him to sell their long-time office location. They reportedly plan to move their businesses to their nearby Trinity Bluffs development. Chieffalo says the office/warehouse, sitting on a half acre, was on the market less than 60 days when Platner and his partners, Rob Wilson and Chris Lawler, toured it.

Platner says the Times Ten trio had been looking at another location when Chieffalo took them to the Foch Street building–and he knew it was the right setting for their entry into Fort Worth and plan to increase wine production. Times Ten Cellars produces 120,000 to 200,000 bottles per year from Texas and California grapes, distributing its wine to 45 restaurants in Greater Dallas.

“We needed it from a production standpoint,” Platner says, adding the Dallas winery is running at maximum production. In addition, the partners just inked a contract with a Houston distributor to open up that market, with long-range sights set on Austin and San Antonio too. But, it’s only for distribution, he emphasizes. “We just want this to be a North Texas entity right now,” he explains. The trio handles distribution in Dallas/Fort Worth.

Times Ten Cellars’ vineyard is an eight-acre tract in Alpine, TX north of Big Bend, where the hot days, cool nights and volcanic soil create the right formula for its mix of Tempranillo, Syrah and Grenache grapes along with some Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc. The trio planted 7,000 vines in spring 2004, harvesting their first crop two years ago. To round out the process, the vintner uses stainless steel equipment from Italy and California and ages its wine in oak barrels from France and Pennsylvania.

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