Developer unveils early plans for apartments surrounding Garvey House near downtown

Garvey House apartments

Early plans to build apartments around the historic Garvey House on the north side of downtown came before city leaders Thursday.

San Antonio-based real estate developer Embrey Partners met with the city’s Downtown Design Review Board to present initial designs for the project. The development, which will cover about 10 acres, consists of 14 buildings totaling 353 units surrounding the Garvey House at 769 Samuels Ave. and bordering the West Fork Trinity River.

Embrey plans to use the Garvey House as a leasing office, making structural improvements and expanding the rear portion of the house to add about 500-600 square feet to the existing 1,200 square-foot structure. The Historic and Cultural Landmarks Commission approved the renovation plans back in May.

John Kirk, executive vice president of development at Embrey, said the Garvey House is currently “in a state of disrepair.” He said his company is looking forward to renovating the house, which was built in the late 1800s.

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“This is the focal feature of the site,” he said. “This is the front door.”

Embrey is working on the project with Fort Worth real estate developer TownSite Company, Fort Worth architect Fender Andrade, Dallas architect Humphreys & Partners Architects, L.P., and Denver-based civil engineer Harris Kocher Smith.

The developers will continue working with city staff to finalize the design before returning to the Downtown Design Review Board in October.

“It is challenging, but we’re excited about the transformation of this area,” Kirk said. “We’re very excited about the design that we have.”

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The project falls under the proposed expanded boundary of the Downtown Urban Design District, which governs building design in downtown Fort Worth. The Fort Worth City Council had initially planned to approve amendments to some of the district’s design guidelines, as well as expand the district to include the northeast edge of downtown, back in June. But after area property owners like Penske Truck Leasing expressed the desire to not be included in the district, the city council decided to postpone the final vote.

The city is currently working with property owners to refine the design guidelines, which are expected to come before the Downtown Design Review Board in October, said Melissa Konur, planning director at downtown advocacy group Downtown Fort Worth Inc.

In the meantime, the developers working on the Garvey House apartments are designing their project according to the proposed guidelines, Kirk said.