Fort Worth

February 4, 2014

Fort Worth council approves tax abatement for mixed-income apartments

The council approved the tax abatement for the owner of a complex off Forest Park Boulevard in the Berry/University Neighborhood Empowerment Zone.

The City Council unanimously approved a five-year tax abatement Tuesday night for the owner of a mixed-income apartment complex in the Berry/University Neighborhood Empowerment Zone to add 310 units to the complex.

The Berkeley Apartments at 2521 Frazier Ave. were approved for a tax abatement in July 2006 for the first phase of construction of the complex, which included 406 units. Ten percent of those units are reserved for residents at or below 80 percent of the area median income, or $47,400 for a family of three.

“That has sat vacant for many years now and basically in order to move that project along, and provide the housing there, which is something we want to create more of, they need this incentive in order to make the project work,” Councilman Joel Burns said.

Ten percent of the new units will also be reserved for residents at or below 80 percent of the median income. The property owner, Lincoln Properties, agreed to invest $33.68 million in the new apartments.

The estimated five-year total of the tax abatement is $1.44 million.

Any changes in zoning or the site plan will still have to come before the council, Burns said.

The complex is east of the intersection of Park Hill Drive and Forest Park Boulevard.

In a vote that was delayed for several meetings, the council unanimously approved a zoning case that would allow a high-intensity, mixed-use development with a waiver for minimum height near the Lockheed Martin Recreation Association.

Councilman W.B. “Zim” Zimmerman delayed the decision so he could meet with concerned parties about increased traffic and density in the area. The motion approved Tuesday has specific limits on the zoning change to balance those concerns, such as limiting the number of apartment units.

Trademark Property Co., a development firm, bought 63 acres in May from the association.

The council also approved a construction bid with JC Commercial for a new building for the Bethlehem Community Center in the Evans-Rosedale Cultural District. The building, which will be at Evans Avenue and East Humbolt Street, will provide social services for low- and moderate-income households.

The council initially authorized the $4.96 million project in December 2011, using economic development grant funds and Section 108 loan funds, a loan program funded by the Housing and Urban Development Department.

The facility will be leased to United Community Centers, a nonprofit started in 1908 at First United Methodist Church in Fort Worth.

“It is a great partnership for the city,” Councilwoman Kelly Allen Gray said.

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