Radio Shack may unplug from longtime Fort Worth base

Fort Worth-based Radio-Shack, which has about two years left on a rent-free lease at the riverfront headquarters it built and sold downtown, has reportedly begun looking for a new home, including sites outside the area.

While company and downtown leaders declined to discuss the search, sources say the big consumer-electronics retailer is shopping for at least 250,000 square feet. That could be hard to accommodate in downtown Fort Worth, where occupancy levels are high, but acceptable space could be found elsewhere in North Texas.

The Tampa Bay Business Journal in Florida reported this week that RadioShack was looking at several cities for a corporate relocation. The Journal said the hush-hush search has been dubbed "Project Prince," and developers there were told that 300,000 to 350,000 square feet of Class-A office space is needed.

RadioShack is also considering staying in Fort Worth, where it has been based since it became part of Tandy Corp. in 1963.

It employs about 1,700 people at its headquarters, according to the Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce.

The company declined to talk about its plans. "We do not normally discuss rumors or speculation," RadioShack spokeswoman Wendy Dominguez said.

She noted that the company’s lease on its headquarters runs until 2011, with an option to extend through June 2013. She said no changes to those terms have been made.

Dominguez said there is "nothing new to discuss concerning long-term decisions."

RadioShack sold the campus to a German firm in December 2005. When Tarrant County College bought it in 2008, RadioShack paid $2.25 million of the $238 million price tag. In return, it can remain in two buildings at the campus until 2011 rent-free. After that, it has the option of leasing one building for two more years at market rates.

It’s not unusual for a major corporation to consider many locations during a due diligence process when searching for new space.

Such relocations can take a couple of years to complete.


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