Texas A&M announces big Fort Worth investment, expansion downtown

TAMU Downtown Fort Worth rendering. courtesy

The Texas A&M System made a big announcement regarding Fort Worth on Wednesday.

After several years of discussion, Texas A&M plans to announce plans for a major research campus on land it owns next to the system’s downtown Law School. The Law School will also receive a new building.

The project would come together in phases, first with a research and innovation center, an education alliance building which will house courses from several Texas A&M schools.

The innovation center and new education building would form the nucleus of a new urban campus along with a new, state-of-the art Law School at 1515 Commerce Street. The buildings would be constructed in phases beginning with the Research and Innovation Center.

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Texas A&M’s plans coincide with the city’s plans for upgrades to the Fort Worth Convention Center and additional development on that side of downtown.

Texas A&M secured a foothold in downtown in 2013 when it purchased the School of Law from Texas Wesleyan University. Since then, the school has consistently moved up in rankings of law schools. Over the years, Texas A&M has purchased land adjacent to the Law School.

“Today’s announcement will lead to an expansive urban campus, building on the success of the Law School in ways that will not only transform downtown but be a game changer for our city,” said John Goff, a private investor and 2020 inductee into the Texas Business Hall of Fame who co-leads the Fort Worth Now economic development project. . “It will help attract young talent, educate our work force, bring innovation to the city, and foster collaboration with many of our locally based companies on new technologies. Texas A&M is uniquely positioned to advance those goals, as not only a Tier-1 research institute, but with the multiple critical Texas state agencies that operate under its auspices.”

Several major Fort Worth employers — Alcon, AT&T, Bell, Elbit Systems of America, Lockheed Martin, and Philips — have shown interest in collaborating in particular fields of research.

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“Lockheed Martin is excited to welcome Texas A&M to the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex,” said Bridget Lauderdale, Vice President and General Manager of the F-35 Lightning II Program, in a news release. “We look forward to partnering with Texas A&M faculty, staff and students to solve complex problems that impact the national security of the United States and our allies. The new Texas A&M System Research and Innovation Building will enable additional research and local workforce development in critical disciplines. It will further expand our partnership across the A&M System in areas including hypersonics, manufacturing, advanced networks and cyber.”

“Alcon is proud to be a part of this important initiative to bring The Texas A&M System University Research and Innovation Center to Fort Worth,” said Franck Leveiller, Senior Vice President and head of global research and development. “Science-based innovation is the foundation of how Alcon works to improve people’s lives, and help them see the world brilliantly. Our research and development team looks forward to working with the university to develop meaningful experiences for its students that enhance the academic curriculum.”

Texas A&M University School of Law Dean Robert B. Ahdieh said in a 2019 interview that the university had plans to expand in Fort Worth.

With the impending renovation of the Tarrant County Convention Center, there is an opportunity to transform a lackluster area in downtown into something spectacular – and something that could spur economic development, he said at the time.

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“Can we imagine sort of a project that really is an innovation hub, a district in this space here,” he said.