Park Place apartment plan in limbo

Apartment plans for Park Place Avenue west of Eighth Avenue have halted — at least for now.

“There’s nothing to tell at this point,” said Gary Vasseur, president of Vasseur Real Estate Inc. in Fort Worth, representing property owner Quarles Lumber Co. in brokering the site.

The 2.9-acre property is zoned for commercial, multifamily and industrial uses. Its asking price was $4.68 million as of Jan. 27.

When Fort Worth Business first reported the apartment plan in 2012, developers envisioned a mixed-use project along Park Place Avenue in the Berkeley Place neighborhood just south of the city’s medical district. Plans called for two apartment buildings collectively known as Residences at Park Place, as well as a restaurant and retail component.

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The eatery would have joined a Park Place restaurant row currently comprising Old Neighborhood Grill, Chadra Mezza and Grill, and Esperanza’s Mexican Cafe & Bakery.

But Dallas developers Maxum Development Ltd. and Mint Interest Group backed out following at least 14 meetings in which the developers and neighborhood residents revised the project design.

Residents insisted that project architecture blend with the neighborhood’s early-20th century aesthetic rather than the contemporary style originally planned for the project. Also complicating matters were traffic safety, nearby train noise and light spilling into the neighborhood, all issues that drew residents to several neighborhood meetings.

But the developers eventually scrapped those plans, with difficulties in obtaining financing reportedly prompting the decision. Then JPI considered the site but took no action, Vasseur said.

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Quarles has remained tightlipped about the site. Vasseur confirmed that the lumber firm that’s occupied the land since 1933 wants to move but wants no publicity until it’s secured a buyer for its existing property and has confirmed its future home.

“Their primary issue is having another location before they comment on the current site,” Vasseur said.

Speculation has intensified among some neighbors, who wonder what happened to plans that packed neighborhood meetings only a few years ago.

“A lot of it had to do with density and being responsive to what the Berkeley [Place] neighborhood was wanting,” said Paul Paine, president of Fort Worth South Inc., who has described a need for housing in the Medical District as a critical part of the original plan.

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With many existing homes in Berkeley Place, Fairmount, Ryan Place and Mistletoe Heights neighborhoods in the upscale price range and mortgages difficult to obtain for prospective homebuyers just out of medical school, Paine described demand as high among young medical professionals working in the area.

Still, Paine said he is not aware of any prospective buyers for the property.

“As far as I know, no one’s currently looking,” Paine said.