Year In Review: 2016: Restaurants, rising industrial space top active year for Fort Worth real estate

A Whole Foods Market store in Louisville, Kentucky in May.The store is seeking to shed its "Whole Paycheck" reputation with a new line of less-expensive markets. 

No real estate sector dominated Fort Worth in 2016.

Rather, properties representing all market segments made headlines in a year that saw Fort Worth and surrounding communities continue to rebound from the 2008 recession.


Fort Worth’s restaurant scene was on the move — literally, as the iconic building housing Salsa Limon Museo moved from South University Drive to the new River District development, becoming Salsa Limon Distrito in the process.

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The October move saw the 1947 building once home to J&J’s Oyster Bar, Rush Street and Quiznos loaded onto a flatbed truck and moved to the new development, a 276-acre residential and commercial community planned north and south of White Settlement Road.

Meanwhile, Waters Bonnell’s Coastal Cuisine in August shuttered its West 7th District space and moved to Sundance Square. The new location is expected to open in early 2017 at the corner of Main and Second streets.

Blue Mesa also moved, vacating its longtime location in University Park Village and building a new freestanding restaurant with more event space near Montgomery Plaza.

Southwest Fort Worth gained more restaurant options when Taco Diner, Blaze Pizza, Tokyo Joe’s and Zoe’s Kitchen opened as part of Waterside, Trademark Property Co.’s 63-acre development at Bryant Irvin Road and Arborlawn Drive.

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Waterside also includes Fort Worth’s first Whole Foods Market, with more restaurants, retail, apartments, office buildings, hotels and single-family housing on the way.


Industrial properties underwent considerable activity during the year, with business parks and land in far North Fort Worth enjoying significant movement. While no transaction equaled Facebook’s $1 billion data center or Lego’s 1.4 million-square-foot facility announced in the previous year, the sector still exhibited strength.

May Group International made news in April when the firm renewed its lease for 138,000 square feet at Carter Industrial Park in South Fort Worth. The location is the advertising agency’s headquarters and production facility.

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The firm has leased two office-warehouses with 60,000 square feet and 78,000 square feet at 1200 Forum Way South since 2013, when it inked a sale-leaseback with Hangover Opportunity Fund LLC. The 11.5-acre tract is located off Everman Parkway near Interstate 35W.

Also in April came Multi-Shot LLC’s lease renewal of 30,348 square feet in Carter Business Center, 7821 Will Rogers Blvd. in Fort Worth. The renewal came as industrial vacancy in South Fort Worth stood near an all-time low, Nick Talley of Bradford Commercial Real Estate Services said at the time. Multi-Shot, a Houston-based oil and gas firm, was the first tenant in the park after it opened in 2005.

And General Assembly Inc. decided in April to remain in Arlington but move from the Vandergriff Town Center at 200 N. Mesquite St. to a 6,615-square-foot building at 1101 Oakmead Drive in the Great Southwest Industrial District. The move kept its operations in Arlington and its staff under one roof.

In October, Dallas-based Hunt Southwest Real Estate Development Inc. unveiled a 301,500-square-foot spec industrial building in east Fort Worth. The Riverbend West distribution center marked the firm’s first project, offering sizable space in an increasingly strong industrial market.

Clark Hunt, chairman-CEO of FC Dallas and the Kansas City Chiefs and a board member of Hunt Southwest, hosted an open house at the business park.The cavernous, concrete tilt-wall building features 76 dock doors, four drive-in ramp doors and LED lighting with motion sensors. Handling leasing duties were Donnie Rohde and Holt Lunsford Commercial colleagues Chance Olin and George Jennings.

The general contractor for the facility was EMJ Corp. RGA Architects Inc. of Roanoke provided architectural services and Kimley-Horn Associates Inc. of Fort Worth was civil engineer.


The former Forest Park Medical Center Fort Worth saw considerable activity after Texas Health Resources bought the 150,000-square-foot hospital at 5400 Clearfork Main St. out of bankruptcy for $116.5 million in May.

Four months after the purchase, Texas Health Resources began treating patients and performing joint replacement surgeries in the facility.

Texas Health acquired the property from bankrupt physician-owned Forest Park Medical Center. Texas Health also paid $4.5 million to the operating company for the releases necessary to take full control of the facility and begin operations. Texas Health also bought all equipment at the Forest Park location.

In another health care transaction, Magnolia Medical Tower on Eighth Avenue changed hands. Ridgeline Magnolia MOB LP bought the 89,991-square-foot property at 1307 Eighth Ave. in October after Dallas-based Velocis acquired the structure in 2012. The firm invested $1.5 million in renovations. CBRE’s Lee Asher and Chris Bodnar of the U.S. Healthcare Capital Markets Group partnered with Austin Barrett in the Dallas-Fort Worth market to broker the sale on behalf of Velocis.

Only a month after the Magnolia Medical Tower deal came news of a $64 million expansion and name change for Plaza Medical Center of Fort Worth. The newly named Medical City Fort Worth will see additional emergency rooms, a new 28-bed intensive care unit and helipad to provide greater access for emergency personnel and faster care for patients.

A new 103,557-square-foot, three-story building is planned for land across Ninth Avenue that is currently a parking lot. The new building is expected to open in 2018.


Verizon made news in August by selling its Irving campus to a Chicago investor for $344 million. Mesirow Financial acquired the 1.15 million-square-foot complex at Hidden Ridge Road near Texas Highway 114 in a deal that saw Verizon retain part of the property for possible future development.

Cushman & Wakefield was financial adviser and agent for Verizon in the transaction as the firm plans to rent its offices for at least 20 years.


Plans for a boutique hotel on Fort Worth’s Near South Side came in December when Bond Partners of San Diego announced plans for a site on Magnolia Avenue.

The proposed 138-room, six-story hotel was approved in a vote at the Fort Worth Zoning Commission’s Dec. 14 meeting. Zoning changes were to allow a hotel and parking garage on the property.

Elsewhere, Cambria Hotel & Suites Southlake DFW North became Southlake’s second hotel when the 175-room property opened on Dec. 3.

The four-story hotel is owned by Choice Hotels International Inc. and is the second Cambria property in Texas. Cambria Southlake DFW North is being developed in conjunction with Fillmore Capital Partners and Fillmore Hospitality.


First Financial Bank opened a new four-story building at 1000 Forest Park Blvd. in June after months of construction at the northwest corner of the crowded Forest Park-West Rosedale Street intersection.

Plans surfaced in early 2014 for a 9,200-square-foot facility to house First Financial’s retail bank and drive-through operation on the first floor, with the rest of the building available for other tenants. Colt Power of NAI Robert Lynn served as broker for the building.

Regions Bank moved in March to become the anchor tenant at a building at the corner of West Seventh Street and University Drive, vacating its downtown location at 100 Main St. Regions occupies about 15,000 square feet in its new location and its bright green signage is placed prominently at the top of the building.

Closer to downtown on West Seventh Street, American National Bank and Trust has started construction on a two-story, 12,000 square-foot building, the bank’s first location in Fort Worth.

Down the street on Summit Avenue, Ciera Bank’s new building should open sometime in early 2017. Ciera Bank tore down its former location, a 15,692-square-foot building, at the northeast corner of Interstate 30 and Summit Avenue, and is building a three-story brick building with more than 21,000 square feet of space.