Development firms selected to work on vacant Lancaster Avenue parcels

Aerial westerly view of Lancaster Avenue showing city-owned lots to be developed.
Aerial westerly view of Lancaster Avenue showing city-owned lots to be developed. Star-Telegram archives

Dallas-based Catalyst Urban Development and the multifamily division of the national homebuilding firm Lennar have been tapped to work with the city of Fort Worth to develop several vacant city-owned parcels on the north side of Lancaster Avenue downtown.

Paris Rutherford, a principal with Catalyst, declined Friday to talk about their plans, saying he wanted to wait until after he makes a presentation to the City Council next week. Rutherford and Jay Chapa, Fort Worth’s Housing and Economic Development director, are scheduled to present plans at the Housing and Economic Development Committee Tuesday afternoon.

Catalyst has not worked on a project in Fort Worth, but Rutherford said he worked on Downtown Fort Worth Inc.’s Plan 2023, a 10-year strategic action plan published in late 2013. Catalyst was hired by Freese and Nichols as a sub-consultant on the portion addressing housing in downtown.

As a result of that work, Rutherford said his firm has been interested in Fort Worth, but, “We were waiting to find the perfect project to apply our skills to and Lancaster is it.”

Rutherford said Catalyst will be co-developers of the Lancaster lots with Lennar, a Miami-based firm. Lennar will serve as the contractor, he said. The two are currently co-developing Las Colinas Station, a $48.5 million mixed-use, transit-oriented project that includes 371 apartments and retail space. The project is slated to be completed early next year.

About a year ago, Fort Worth development staff began looking for a master developer to work on several vacant parcels on the north side of Lancaster Avenue, from Jones to Lamar streets, that remained after the portion of the Interstate 30 overpass was moved south.

Andy Taft, president of Downtown Fort Worth Inc., which is working with the city on the Lancaster project, said the vision of the development team selected is high-quality and will act to spur additional development with the center of downtown.

Catalyst, founded in 2009, has done several Dallas-area projects, but is now also working on 101 Center in downtown Arlington, the $43 million mixed-use, urban infill development that will include 240 market-rate apartments in a public/private partnership with the city of Arlington on the site of the city’s central library. The 40-year-old library was closed in December.

The building will be razed to make room for the five-story development that will include about 40,000 square feet of street level space for shops, offices and restaurants.

Sandra Baker, 817-390-7727

Twitter: @SandraBakerFWST