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The Fort Worth T, Fort Worth Housing Authority, city, and Fort Worth South nonprofit are taking the next step in studying the market for a mixed-use residential and commercial complex on a parking lot south of T&P Station.
The Urban Land Institute will run a two-day design workshop Aug. 25-26 in Fort Worth, with an eight-member panel of local architects and developers interviewing stakeholders, reviewing data such as potential residential demand by rail and bus passengers, and drawing up sketches on what the site could look like.
The workshop will culminate with a public presentation, 5:30 p.m.-6:30 p.m., Aug. 26 at Amphibian Stage Productions, 120 S. Main St.
Potential form will be a major piece of the review, given the site’s location adjacent to rail and bus transit, downtown and the Near Southside, and the emerging and historic South Main Street Urban Village, Mike Brennan, Fort Worth South’s planning director, said in an interview Friday.
The project must be highly walkable, feature a mix of uses, and interact well with the urban village, he siad.
“We need to be thinking of the form early, because that would determine the success of the project,” he said.
The T, Housing Authority and Near Southside’s city tax increment finance district agreed earlier in the Spring to foot the $15,000 tab for the design workshop.
The T owns the 2.1-acre rectangular site at the northwest corner of South Main and West Vickery Boulevard, currently a popular 100-space free parking lot for TRE passengers. The north boundary of the site is the Interstate 30 overpass, which covers more TRE parking.
The Housing Authority would be the developer for the site.
The complex could be one or two buildings of up to 10 stories apiece under existing zoning, and include a mix of market-rent apartments and ones available to people who make less than area median income.
Total apartments are envisioned at 150-250, with one and two-bedroom units. The complex would include ground-floor commercial that could serve transit passengers, residents, and others in the neighborhood.
It would also include parking for residents and transit passengers. The design review will include a broader examination of potential neighborhood uses around the site, including parking, Brennan said.
“One of the expectations for The T is that all of the parking will be replaced, and the project will increase the number of spaces available to transit riders,” Brennan said.
Beyond what could go into the complex, there’s no sense yet of what the design could look like, Brennan said.
“We really don’t have a really good grasp of where the design direction is,” he said.
The partners envision the development, on two bus lines and next to Fort Worth’s westernmost Trinity Railway Express terminus and planned launchpad for downtown-D/FW Airport TexRail trains, would help Fort Worth fill its desire for more transit-oriented development around public transit stations, better serving commuters, funneling more workers to employment hubs like the airport, and taking cars of the streets.
They also believe it could spur redevelopment in the South Main village, where a remake of the street from Vickery to Allen Street is underway that will include reconstruction, bike lanes, trees, lights, and other pedestrian-friendly improvements.
South Main property owners near the site will be included among the people interviewed by the design panel, Brennan and Dana Burghdoff, the city’s deputy planning director, said.
Don Gatzke, the architecture dean at the University of Texas at Arlington, is chairing the panel, which will include five architects and three developers. The Urban Land Institute is also working with the American Institute of Architects on the site discussion.
Next step after the workshop would be for the Housing Authority to hire an architect, Brennan said.
It’s not clear where the money would come from, but tax credits are a potential source, Burghdoff said.
Ramon Guajardo, a former Fort Worth assistant city manager who is consulting with the Housing Authority on the project, said the Housing Authority doesn’t have a schedule in mind yet.
“We’d like to see something as soon as possible,” he said Friday.
The site’s potential for mixed-use development has long been discussed.
But it’s a good time for the project, because of transit’s growth and impending launch of TexRail service to the airport, the expanding downtown and Near Southside employment base, Guajardo said.