Upscale apartments planned east of Alliance Airport


A. Lee Graham

A mostly vacant piece of county property boasting just one home could someday be teeming with apartments, condominiums and townhomes if the Fort Worth City Council approves changes to the city’s future land use map. By a 7-0 vote on June 26, the City Plan Commission decided to recommend that the map reflect mixed-use designation for the 35.3-acre tract at 3295 Keller Haslet Road just north of Texas 170 and east of Fort Worth Alliance Airport. Commissioners also voted to recommend that the city’s Zoning Commission zone the property for medium residential use. The site is on unincorporated property in Tarrant County and has no zoning designation. It is expected to be annexed into the city at a later date. “This has been a very, very long process just to get to this point,” said H. Dennis Hopkins, a Fort Worth real-estate agent and zoning consultant representing Dallas-based Harwood Properties Inc., which has agreed to purchase the property from Frances Clark and Phillip Sotel, its current owners. Negotiations to purchase the property began in late 2011. Harwood plans an apartment complex with up to 18 units per acre. Adjacent property to the west and within city limits is zoned light industrial, though land to the east along Beach Street is zoned for single-family residential. No more than 25 of the 35.3 acres may by developed to ensure adequate right of way when Beach Street – running north and south just east of the property – is extended. A specific number of apartments has not been decided, though Hopkins described the planned units as upscale. He also said condominiums and townhomes would be constructed, though he was unsure about possible rental rates for those or the apartments. An existing developer agreement signed by the current property owners requires that the land be developed in accordance with the future land use map, which is light industrial. The proposed medium-density multifamily zoning would conform to at least two comprehensive plan policies. Those require multifamily units to be located adjacent to collector streets, arterial streets or rail transit stations to provide transportation service for greater numbers of residents. The other policy encourages locating multiple-unit residential structures on corner lots. Still, Hopkins dismissed comprehensive plans as not set in stone. “I have always felt that comprehensive plans, regardless of what they’re called … they’re always a broad-brush approach to development,” Hopkins told commissioners. “It’s not a one size fits all. The case you have before you now really demonstrates the need for that.” Commissioner Mark Brast asked whether neighbors whose homes are near the site have had been notified of the apartment plan. Hopkins said no, but he said would consider discussing the apartment plan with them. The city council is expected to consider the land use map request at its Aug. 13 meeting. Meanwhile, Commissioner Mike Brennan stressed the need to make sure that multifamily is the best use for the property. “What we want to avoid, I think, is a parcel zoned for multifamily in the wrong location and the zoning stays that way and nothing happens,” Brennan said of multifamily development. “I think what you may end up seeing here is a combination of uses, but we have a contract saying multifamily,” said Hopkins, reminding commissioners that heavy truck traffic and other noisy activity likely would result from industrial use. In other business,, the Plan Commission considered a proposal that would allow Trammell Crow Corp. to acquire a tract near Fort Worth Alliance Airport currently owned by Intel Corp. The commission decided to allow a month for Dallas-based Trammell Crow to supply storm water management plans, a traffic study, and water and sewer studies. At that point, commissioners could recommend City Council approval of Trammell Crow’s request to replat the 314.4-acre tract at the northwest corner of Interstate 35W and Eagle Parkway into 12 industrial lots. If the sale goes through, it would see Intel shed its sole tract near the airport.