The block on University Drive where Topsy’s Café used to sit may soon look a little different if plans follow through to put a mixed-use development on the site.
Real estate developer TownSite Company plans to build retail space, housing and a parking garage on the block surrounded by University Drive, Crockett Street, Norwood Street and Morton Street. TownSite is working on the project with The Carlyle Group, the Washingon, D.C.-based financial services company that owns the West 7th entertainment district, and Greystar, a real estate management company based in South Carolina.
Greystar Managing Director Laird Sparks said earlier this month that his company is working to purchase the block and hopes to fully own the block by May.
The development is in its “planning stages,” and designs have not been finalized yet, said Phillip Poole, lead development executive at TownSite.
In anticipation of the project, the Historic and Cultural Landmarks Commission voted April 11 to approve the demolition of two structures on the site – the stone structure at 901 University Drive and the former Topsy’s Café building, currently occupied by Salsa Limón at 929 University Drive.
Because both structures have historic designations, the demolition permit comes with a 180-day delay so the developer can find other ways to use the structure and avoid demolition. Poole said he would rather see the buildings relocated rather than demolished, but plans for relocation have not been solidified.
He said his company has worked with H. D. Snow & Son House Moving to relocate buildings in the past.
Relocating a building can cost upwards of $100,000, he said.
A possible relocation spot for the Topsy’s Café building could be the upcoming River District on White Settlement Road, he said.
As far as what will happen to Salsa Limón, Poole said the restaurant will have the option of relocating back into the new development or finding a new location altogether.
Back in March, the Fort Worth City Council voted to vacate an alleyway on the block to replat the land for development.