HIGH RISE DEVELOPMENT APPROVED

For the first time in almost three decades, a high-rise residential development may be on its way to downtown Fort Worth.

At Tuesday's meeting, the Fort Worth City Council approved an economic development program agreement with MWG Enterprises for construction of a high-rise residential tower to be located at 1000 Weatherford St.

The plan is for a minimum 17-story, 300-unit development with a potential additional commercial component in the future. The location is two blocks in northwest downtown between Weatherford Street and Belknap Street near the Pier 1 Tower and the newly constructed Broadstone Apartments.

District 9 Councilwoman Ann Zadeh, in whose district the project lies, said it “brings a much anticipated continued expansion of residential options to Downtown Fort Worth."

"As an incredibly safe, walkable, and friendly downtown, that continues to evolve into an even more vibrant place to live, work and be entertained, the city’s support of this type of project is a testament to our commitment to providing a quality lifestyle and sustainable development in the urban core," she continued. "Downtown provides access to many desirable amenities such as the Water Gardens, Sundance Square, city facilities and public transportation."

Michael Hennig, of the city's economic development department, said this would be Fort Worth’s first new high-rise residential development in nearly 30 years. The only other similar residential projects in recent past have been remodels or senior living, which he said have certain state-provided cost advantages.

Hennig also said the added value of this high-rise development will bring in an estimated half-million dollars more in new tax revenue to the city over the mid-rise alternative, even after accounting for the incentives.

Developer commitments include:

*Invest a minimum of $75 million by June 30, 2022, of which a minimum of $65 million will be hard construction costs.

*Prepare and submit plans by Dec. 31, 2020 for adjacent commercial component (subject to successful property acquisition).

*Minimum 15% of development costs to go to Certified Minority/Women Business Enterprise firms (failing to achieve this commitment results in a reduction of the incentives).

*Minimum 15% of units to qualify as affordable as defined by HUD (failing to achieve this commitment results in a reduction of the incentives).

*Minimum six full-time employees associated with the project beginning June 30, 2023.

The proposed city incentive agreement includes a 10-year Chapter 380 agreement reimbursing up to 80% of any additional city property taxes generated by the development, up to a maximum total value of $4.5 million. There will be an additional $2.8 million in TIF support approved by the Downtown TIF Board for a combined $7.3 million in total incentives.

The 10-year projection for new taxes to the city are about $1.5 million.

The alternative to the proposed high-rise is a five-story, 240-unit building which has been the focus of the developer in recent months. This alternative project would involve approximately half as much private investment, but is less risky to the developer given the strength of rental rates in the Downtown Fort Worth market, Hennig said.

Hennig said the project also has implications for corporate attraction efforts, and that office owners and brokers increasingly stress the value of these types of living options.

Hennig said there has been a lot of interest in downtown Fort Worth for several years by some very capable developers, but the lack of recent examples to prove the market have made them shy away.

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