The Fort Worth City Council voted April 19 to kick off a series of public hearings for the annexation of 568.14 acres of vacant land to be used for Tarleton State University’s Fort Worth campus as well as other commercial and residential projects. The vote was 8-0, with Councilwoman Gyna Bivens absent.
The public hearings are set for May 10 and May 24, with the council’s final vote scheduled for June 14.
The land, owned by Canadian real estate investment and development group The Walton Group of Companies, is located east of the Fort Worth & Western Railroad and west of the intersection of Chisholm Trail Parkway and Granbury Road.
Walton donated about 80 acres to Tarleton for its Fort Worth campus. The rest of the land will be used for mixed-use buildings, housing and other “diverse” developments, said City Planning Manager Mary Elliott.
“We’re certainly excited about Tarleton State,” she said. “Universities do attract a lot of other land uses, and they certainly want to encourage a variety of land uses in this area.”
Tarleton aims to open its Fort Worth campus by 2019. The campus will be located at southwest corner of Chisholm Trail Parkway-Granbury Road intersection. The Austin-based planning firm Broaddus Planning is developing the concept plan.
Tarleton-Fort Worth currently holds classes in two locations: the Hickman Building at 6777 Camp Bowie Blvd. and the R. C. Shaffer Building at 1501 Enderly Place. The school expects enrollment to increase from 1,600 students in 2015 to more than 2,500 students in 2019.
Last year, Tarleton received about $40 million in capital construction bond revenue from the Legislature. The money will be used to construct the first building on the campus – a 76,000-square-foot facility with classrooms, labs and a library among other features. Tarleton will build additional facilities as funding becomes available, according to Cecilia Jacobs, Tarleton’s public relations manager.
“When new businesses consider a move to Fort Worth, they ask about the education of the area’s workforce as well as the educational opportunities available to employees who relocate with them,” Jacobs said. “Tarleton-Fort Worth increases the options.”
Along with the annexation, Walton is seeking have the area zoned for a mix of general commercial, neighborhood commercial, mixed-use and single-family housing. The request will go before the Zoning Commission on May 11. Then, the city council will vote on the zoning on the same day it votes on the annexation.
City acquires land for new police division
The City of Fort Worth now has the land it needs to build a new police division for North Fort Worth.
With an 8-0 vote, the council approved the purchase of two parcels of land in the 8700 block of Old Denton Road on April 19.
The city will pay landowner Billy Jack Pemberton about $2.5 million for 9.67 acres located at 8795 Old Denton Road. It will pay landowners Wendy and Lynton Holloway $874,075 for about 2.54 acres located at 8755 Old Denton Road.
The city council also chose Fort Worth contractor FPI Builders to design and construct the facility, which will be the Fort Worth Police Department’s sixth patrol division. The five existing divisions are North, South, East, West and Central, with the North Division covering the largest area –125.7 square miles and about 275,900 people. For now the new facility is being called the Sixth Patrol Division, according to Police Department Planning Manager Becky McGibson.
Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price said growth in the Alliance area toward the Keller region has caused police response time to slow down, prompting the police department to make plans for the sixth division.
According to McGibson, North Division officers had an average response time of almost 12 minutes for the highest priority calls in 2015. The other divisions had an average response time of less than 10 minutes for high priority calls.
Construction on the new division is expected to begin in November and finish November 2017. The project as a whole will cost about $14 million.
Fort Worth council approves zoning change for multifamily
A multifamily development north of downtown is moving forward as the city council approved a zoning change for the project April 19. The vote was 8-0.
Phillip Poole, lead development executive at Fort Worth development company TownSite, is working on the project with San Antonio-based real estate developer Embrey Partners. The plan is to build multifamily housing around the 700 and 900 blocks of Samuels Avenue as well as the 800 and 900 blocks of Bennett Street.
The concept plan for the project is “being refined as we go,” Poole told the Zoning Commission on April 13.
The developers requested a zoning change for the area in anticipation of the city’s plans to expand the Downtown Urban Design District. The Design District regulates building design in downtown, and the council is scheduled to vote on expanding the boundary in June. The expanded boundary would include more of the north side of downtown – that is, the area east of the Intermodal Transportation Center up to Interstate 35, then north up to the Greenway, Rock Island and Samuels Avenue neighborhoods.
Because the project falls inside the proposed expanded district, the developers asked to have planned development and high-density multifamily zoning to accommodate the district’s standards. The city council granted this request.
The area is also home to a number of historic houses, including the Garvey-Viehl-Kelley House at 769 Samuels Ave. that was built in the late 1800s. Poole said Embrey Partners plans to rehabilitate the house and use it as an office.
For other historic houses in the area, the developers have permits from the Historic and Cultural Landmarks Commission to either demolish or relocate the structures.
Linwood project gets approval for zoning change
The Fort Worth City Council voted 8-0 to approve a zoning change April 19 that would allow Fort Worth developer Village Homes to continue with its ongoing townhome project in the Linwood Park area.
Village Homes plans to build townhomes on the block surrounded by Wimberly, Whitmore, Currie and Weisenberger streets. Portions of block had been zoned for residences that could house to two families. The new zoning, known as “Urban Residential,” would allow townhomes.
No specific development is planned yet, said Mary Nell Poole, lead administrative executive at TownSite, which has been working on the project with Village Homes.
• Passport services at Central Library: The Fort Worth Central Library at 500 West Third St. can now perform passport services. The council voted 8-0 to allow the Central Library to process passport applications and submit them to the U.S. Department of State for approval. Passport services will be available from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m on Tuesdays and Thursdays and noon to 5 p.m. on Saturdays.
• City fights homelessness: The city council will allocate about $2.6 million for United Way to help implement the city’s Directions Home initiative, a 10-year plan that began in 2008 to combat homelessness in Fort Worth. The Directions Home program offers services such as apartment rental and permanent housing assistance. The city’s agreement with United Way ends in May 2017.
• Building a skybridge: The city council granted permission to developer D Museum Place FW LLC to build a 40-square-foot skybridge to connect the 900 block of Boland Avenue and the 800 block of Van Cliburn Way. According to the city’s media and public affairs specialist, Cindy Vasquez, the developer will “control the schedule” for the project because the developer is private. She said the project’s next step is to obtain a building permit.
• Beer distributor tax break: Beer distributor Andrews Distributing received a tax break from the city for its construction of a 400,000-square-foot distribution center at 100 Northeast Loop 820. The tax break is on the incremental increase in value of real and personal property improvements, worth $620,000 over five years. Andrews plans to invest at least $37 million on the project, and construction should begin toward the end of the year, said Robert Sturns, the city’s economic development director.
• Will Rogers historic designation: The auditorium, coliseum and Pioneer Tower at the Will Rogers Memorial Center now have a national historic designation. The city council received a report that the structures made the National Register of Historic Places list. The art deco-style buildings were constructed in 1936. According to a city staff report, the national designation is “symbolic” and “places no restrictions on the use or treatment of the center.” The center already has a local historic designation.