Changing the look of Lancaster: New developments receive funding

Courtesy of Michael Hennig, City of Fort Worth Economic Development Department."

Changing the look of Lancaster has been an ongoing project on the desk of the Fort Worth City Council. With new projects receiving approval for tax increment funding (TIF), those plans are taking another step forward.

The Lancaster TIF board approved TIF funding for two projects on July 1. One is an apartment complex, called the Cadillac Lofts, on the southeast corner of Main Street and Lancaster Avenue. The other is a facility on the block surrounded by Lancaster Avenue, Cherry Street, Texas Street and Lamar Street. The latter development will have multiple purposes, including retail, restaurants and offices.

The two facilities will be like the “cornerstones” of Lancaster Avenue, said Jungus Jordan, Fort Worth city councilman and chair of the Lancaster TIF board.

“One [is] on the west end of downtown Lancaster, the other on the east end of downtown Lancaster, which are both, in their own right, gateways into the Lancaster quarter,” he said.

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Cadillac Lofts is expected to be completed in 2017, while the first phase of the Catalyst facility is expected to be completed in 2018.

TX Kent Apartments, L.P., which will head the development of Cadillac Lofts, will receive $2.5 million to help fund the $26.6 million project. The money from TIF will go toward demolition and infrastructure, along with the removal of several pieces of concrete on the land.

The other multifamily facility, headed by Catalyst Urban Development, will receive $4.7 million for its $38 million project. The approximately 277,000 square foot facility will house 254 multifamily units, 6,000 square feet of retail space and a parking garage with 601 spaces.

In mid-July, the staff will meet with the owner of the T&P Warehouse, Cleopatra Investments. The TIF has a total of $11 million committed to the redevelopment of the warehouse, but if the owner does not present valid financing and construction plans, the agreement will fall through.

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“That’s a critical piece in the ultimate vision in what Lancaster can be, to be part of the downtown footprint,” Jordan said.

In the end, Jordan said he hopes Lancaster will become an attractive area where people will choose to live.

A big part of that includes an emphasis of sidewalks and pedestrian-friendly areas, he said.

“Lancaster is a boulevard that we foresee a lifestyle of sidewalk cafes, sidewalk restaurants, sidewalk retail, with the ‘stroller mentality’ where folks who would choose to live downtown would be able to walk and jog, ride a bike and live their lifestyle,” he said.

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The name “Lancaster” has the possibility of changing as well, Jordan said.

But it won’t happen anytime soon.

“I wouldn’t rule out the fact that someday they rename that section of downtown,” he said. “But I don’t envision that. I personally think Lancaster is of historical significance, and I think we’ll continue that.”