Old Frank Kent Cadillac site set for new apartment project

Cadillac Lofts

A group, including the developer who led the Walmart-anchored Renaissance Square development in the service-starved Southeast Fort Worth, plans a 202-unit apartment development on the site of the original Frank Kent Cadillac dealership in downtown Fort Worth.

The project, to be called Cadillac Lofts and developed by a partnership named Sonoma Investments, will be at the southeast corner of West Lancaster Avenue and South Main Street, Andy Taft, president of the Downtown Fort Worth Inc. economic development nonprofit, announced during the organization’s annual meeting and luncheon Wednesday at the the Renaissance Worthington Hotel downtown.

Hap Baggett, who launched the 200-acre Renaissance Square development at U.S. 287 and East Berry Street that opened in 2013, is a member of the Sonoma group, but he declined to say Wednesday what his role was other than referring to himself as “spokesman.”

“We’re just excited, enthused about the site, enjoying the relationship we’re having with the city of Fort Worth, and in four weeks, we’ll roll out the plans,” said Baggett, who wasn’t at the lunch. Baggett declined to reveal other retails of the apartment plan.

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Will Churchill, grandson of Frank Kent, said Wednesday in an interview that his family is under contract to sell the 2.5-acre site, but he said he knew nothing of the Sonoma plans.

The family has had the site on the market for a few years, he said.

“We’ve had a few deals come and go, but we feel real comfortable with it,” he said of the Sonoma contract. “Everybody who’s been looking at this has been talking hotel and apartments.”

The family has owned the site since the 1930s. Frank Kent opened a Ford dealership there in 1940 and ran it until 1953, when he gave the franchise back to Ford so he could open a Cadillac dealership on the site.

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The Cadillac dealership operated on West Lancaster from 1953 to the 1980s, when it moved to the Weatherford Traffic Circle in west Fort Worth. In 1986, the downtown site was demolished in a gas explosion.

More apartments would meet the goals of the downtown master plan, which calls for more residential.

Numerous plans are underway to revitalize West Lancaster running through downtown, and “this is a rare opportunity on the south side of Lancaster to activate the street,” Taft said in an interview after the lunch.

Other downtown news:

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XTO Energy, which is seeking requests for proposals from developers for an 800-space parking structure on a one-block surface parking it owns downtown, has told the developers it’s open to ideas for more than just a parking structure on the site, Taft said Wednesday. Proposals are expected in by the end of April, he said. The site was home to the old CNB building, which XTO demolished several years ago.

The Raymond Group should break ground this fall for a 245-room Hampton Inn and Suites hotel at Ninth and Commerce streets, on the site of the old United Way building, Taft said.