Criterion Property Company L.P. held an official groundbreaking Thursday, July 6, for its 322,019-square foot project, The River East, located at 2900 Race Street.
The project will be an urban mixed-use development including retail, residential and office space, with 4,400 square feet of co-working space, 3,000 square-feet of retail space, 13,500 square feet of live/work space. An additional 2,200 square feet is planned for use as a fitness space with the possibility of an open yoga, Pilates or CrossFit studio.
The live/work space is meant to be utilized by small businesses and artists, where the co-working space caters to entrepreneurs, startups, freelancers and independent workers. The residential space will include 181 rental units, a large pool, an outdoor grilling space, a fenced pet park, a fitness center and more.
“Really, the goal for this project – because Criterion has been working in this neighborhood for the last four years or so – is to have a kind of anchor right here at the center of this revitalized area, and right here in the middle of Race Street we think was the greatest spot for that,” Criterion President Pretlow Riddick said.
Riddick added that the Race Street area is really a diamond in the rough that just needs a little TLC to really showcase the hidden characteristics it has to offer such as scenic views, proximity to downtown and employment opportunities, mature trees and more.
Dallas-based PlainsCapital Bank is providing the senior financing for the project, Civitas Capital Group is the investor, and HLR Architects and Stanford Construction Inc. are the architect and contractors on the project, respectively.
Criterion has also been working in tandem with the city of Fort Worth and Tarrant County in an effort to not only revitalize the area but to make it a place where people want to live, work and explore.
“The city and the county had programs in place actually encouraging redevelopment in this neighborhood,” Riddick said. “So, it’s always a lot more fun for us to dream and come up with a vision when other people have already said ‘Hey, here’s a place where we’re going to support you.’ And the city and county have done that exceptionally in this project.”
Tarrant County Commissioner for Precinct 1 Roy Brooks applauded the creative approach of The River East project’s combination of live/work, retail, co-work and residential space.
“I am certain this will lead to further growth for this revitalized community, and that’s why the county has joined with the city of Fort Worth in investing in this project,” Brooks said.
This project is Criterions second in the area – the company opened its residential property The Scenic at River East just over a year ago – and is economic vitality focused. In addition to its The River East project, Criterion has been buying some of the underutilized buildings in the area to bring retail, restaurants and business including Tributary Café, Gypsy Scoops, New York Pizza, Good Food Company, The Soulful Gypsy, The Record Shop and more to the area.
Brooks commented that Criterion has shown its commitment to the neighborhood through its investment in taking underperforming assets, such as the vacant or run-down buildings, and turning them into “something of which the community can be proud.”
City improvements to make the area more a more walkable, pedestrian-friendly, stomping ground include wide sidewalks with decorative pavement and pedestrian lighting, reverse-in parking and bike lanes, landscaping, street furniture and public art.
Additionally, a public paseo – also known as a promenade – is being added to connect Race and Plumwood streets in an effort to aid the future development of the Belknap Street area. District 9 Fort Worth city council representative Ann Zadeh said the city will also be adding 3,300 linear feet of new streetscape from Oakhurst Scenic to Riverside Drive.
Zadeh added that whether there will be more big projects like Criterion’s is a question for private property owners, though city investments to improving things such as public right of way, the streetscape, trees, sidewalks and more usually will attract private investment to an area.
“With an eye toward maintaining the legacy of the past we must continue to rebuild, to reuse adaptively, to create new spaces that fit the way new people want to live, work and play. And that’s what we have in this project here today,” Brooks said. “It is exciting to see the changes and the growth that are occurring as people rediscover once-great neighborhoods and bring new life and excitement to the area.”