Nearly 575 new apartments proposed for Fort Worth’s near south side

Posted Monday, Apr. 21, 2014  comments  Print Reprints
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Three apartment developments are on the drawing board for the city’s near south side that would add almost 575 rental units, including one project that involves the renovation of a historic Coca-Cola bottling plant on south Main Street.

The projects, which together represent $76 million in investment, are seeking nearly $4 million in funding from the area’s tax increment finance district. The district’s board will meet Wednesday to consider the requests.

Construction on the projects, being proposed by Seneca Investments and Lang Partners, could begin in January, and each would take as long as two years to complete.

Paul Paine, president of Fort Worth South, a nonprofit organization that oversees development on the city’s near south side, said demand exists for more than 2,000 apartments because of job growth and the growing popularity and willingness of private developers to invest in the area.

“They’re all going to do well,” Paine said the projects.

Addison-based Seneca Investments plans a $34.7 million six-story, 227-unit multifamily building that takes in the two-story former Coca-Cola building at South Main Street and Pennsylvania Avenue as part of a project called Highpointe on South Main. The proposed development will include construction of a 198,800-square-foot building and a multi-level parking garage with 332 spaces.

The project is about half the size of what Seneca proposed for the site in 2012. At that time, it received a $5.3 million commitment from the area’s tax increment finance district for a $70 million, 526-unit project. But the project never advanced and the land owner sold some of the property to Victory Healthcare for a hospital and medical offices.

Jay Jambor, a Seneca vice president, said the average apartment size will be 876 square feet, but it’s too early to quote possible rents. Seneca will save the facade of the vacant circa-1926 Coca-Cola building and the interior will be renovated for a fitness center, leasing offices and other amenities, he said.

Seneca is asking for nearly $2.5 million from the tax increment finance district to help with public right-of-way and easement improvement costs, environmental abatement, street reconstruction and streetscape improvements. The project is between South Main and Galveston Avenue, and Pennsylvania Avenue and Cannon Street.

Dallas-based Lang Partners is planning a $40.9 million, five-story, 322-unit project bounded by West Rosedale and Oleander streets, and Seventh and Hurley avenues. Lang Partners bought the land earlier this year for a project that could include a 274,666-square-foot building and a multi-level parking garage with 420 spaces.

The site was picked because residents would be able to walk to jobs, shops and restaurants, said Dirik Oudt, Lang Partners president.

“We like to build where there’s a lot of walkability,” Oudt said. “Employment is everything, but when you combine employment with walkability, you have have the right recipe.”

Lang Partners is asking for $1.1 million from the tax increment finance district, also for public right-of-way and easement improvements, utility work and streetscape improvements.

Oudt said the project is still being designed. The units, though, will be of the same top-notch level as its 316-unit Lancaster and White Buffalo project on West Lancaster Avenue, which is 94 percent occupied, he said.

In the third project, Broken Bone Land Co., a development entity of Dr. Gurpreet Bajaj in Fort Worth, plans a $2.7 million, three-story, 24-unit apartment project on the west side of Travis Avenue, between West Rosedale Street and Terrell Avenue. The apartments are the second phase of a project that included a medical clinic and four apartments in an adjoining two-story building on Lipscomb Street to the west.

Bajaj is asking for $75,879 from the TIF for site and utility improvements. Construction is scheduled to begin in July and be completed by June 2015.

Sandra Baker, 817-390-7727 Twitter: @SandraBakerFWST

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