New life for Berry Street Theater

The long-shuttered Berry Street Theater may soon have new life.

The Fort Worth City Council on Nov. 19 authorized execution of a five-year tax abatement for the rehabilitation of the Berry Street Theater for use as an event center with almost 10,000 square feet. The owner of the property, Berry Theatre LLC, at 3033 Hemphill Street has announced plans to invest at least $1.8 million in the rehabilitation project.

The Hemphill/Berry Urban Village is one of the 13 original villages identified by the Commercial Corridors Task Force in 2002.

The decision is in accordance with the Neighborhood Empowerment Zone Tax Abatement Policy and Basic Incentives. The property is located within the South Hemphill Heights neighborhood and Neighborhood Empowerment Zone Area Six.

Incentives includes a five-year municipal property tax abatement on the increased value of improvements. Upon execution of the agreement, the total assessed value of the improvements used for calculating municipal property tax will be frozen for a

period of five years starting January 2021 at the estimated pre-improvement value of $148,050.

"The Berry Theater has long been envisioned as an important anchor to the Berry Hemphill Urban Village. There has been concern over the years that without historic protection this theater might not survive," said District 9 Councilwoman Ann Zadeh, in whose district the theater sits. "There is great excitement that reinvestment in this theater from our past is proposed by the current owner. The use of benefits offered by the Neighborhood Empowerment Zone (NEZ) provide an excellent tool to support this proposal and desired outcome of a plan long in the making."

The municipal property tax on the improved value of the project after completion is estimated to be $14,031 per year for a total amount of $70,153 over the five-year period. However, this estimate may differ from the actual tax abatement value, which will be calculated based on the Tarrant Appraisal District appraised value of the property. – Rick Mauch

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