Texas Wesleyan University got some help from the Fort Worth City Council in the college's efforts to spearhead a revitalization in the Polytechnic/Wesleyan Village area in southeast Fort Worth along East Rosedale Street between Collard Street and Conner Avenue.

The council on June 12 approved a forgivable loan of $572,299 from the Urban Development Action Grant (UDAG) miscellaneous revenue so the university can continue its work on the project.

Texas Wesleyan is leading the charge in redeveloping a two-block span of mostly vacant storefronts to their former function as "main street" businesses. To date, the university has invested $3.4 million in university, philanthropic and Housing and Urban Development grant funds to buy and develop the 3000 and 3100 blocks of storefronts on Rosedale.

"Under the leadership of President Fred Slabach, Texas Wesleyan has been working with the city of Fort Worth and other partners to transform a previously distressed commercial district adjacent to the campus into a walkable, mixed-use urban village," said Assistant City Manager Fernando Costa.

"This revitalization project, called the Rosedale Renaissance, is helping the university to achieve its stated goal of creating a secure and attractive physical environment that supports academic activities and enhances student life."

The first phase of improvements, along the 3100 block, was completed between August 2014 and April 2017. Those storefronts now house the university's community counseling center and business accelerator.

Texas Wesleyan was seeking assistance from the city for the second phase of improvements in the 3000 block. University officials are proposing the renovation of three storefronts – at 3012, 3014 and 3016 E. Rosedale – along with the construction of two parking lots at 3000 and 3016 E. Rosedale.

"The project is also benefiting the city by increasing economic activity, providing jobs for local residents, expanding our tax base and supporting the revitalization of surrounding neighborhoods," Costa said.

The UDAG loan agreement will complement $716,802 invested by the university so far on the storefronts/lots.

Additional investment commitments from Texas Wesleyan include:

* Tenant improvements of $383,160 ($40 per square foot).

* Providing 12 months of free rent to allow tenant businesses to establish and sustain a revenue base, as well as secure capital to fulfill their tenant improvement needs/obligations, valued at a minimum of $114,948.

* Generating the equivalent of at least 10 full-time jobs at Polytechnic/Wesleyan Village to employ central city residents.

Initial projections suggest that rental revenue collected over 10 years will be enough to retire the debt. The university anticipates that the three storefronts will be revenue-neutral until 2027.

If the university sells the properties, the UDAG loan funds are to be repaid to the city.

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