Fort Worth

Developers planning 30-story high-rise apartment building in downtown Fort Worth

Southern Land Co. wants to build a 30-story apartment tower on land near the Fort Worth Convention Center.
Southern Land Co. wants to build a 30-story apartment tower on land near the Fort Worth Convention Center. Star-Telegram

In what would be downtown’s first high-rise apartment building, Southern Land Co., a Nashville-based developer, wants to erect a tower with up to 32 stories at Ninth and Commerce streets near the Fort Worth Convention Center.

The project would be only a few stories short of the city’s tallest high-rise office buildings, which top out at 40 stories. The only other high-rise residential projects are The Residences at the Omni Hotel, which has condos atop the hotel, and The Tower, which was redeveloped into condos after a tornado ravaged the office tower in 2000.

Todd Marchesani, director of acquisitions for Southern Land, said the company has been looking for a downtown location for more than three years, and lost a couple of sites to buyers who paid more.

“We’ve been actively looking for a development site in downtown Fort Worth,” Marchesani said. “We love everything about it. We’ve made offers on a number of sites and fortunately we were able to put this one under contract.”

This will be Southern Land’s first Fort Worth project, but its sixth in the Metroplex. It developed the Arthouse in Keller, as well as projects in Plano, Dallas and Allen. The new apartment tower will have between 250 and 295 units, averaging 800 to 900 square feet, Marchesani said.

The Downtown Design Review Committee on Thursday approved the project’s concept and its footprint on the block between Eighth and Ninth streets, and Commerce and Calhoun streets. It will be adjacent to the brick building owned by Purple Land Management Co. that has the painted Billy Miner’s name at the top.

Marchesani said they expect to close on the property in the next few weeks. The property is owned by XTO Energy and has been used as a parking lot. XTO is relocating the bulk of its downtown employees to an Exxon Mobil campus in Houston.

The board’s approval means the project will go into the architecture design phase. That design and the materials used to build the project will also need the review board’s approval. Construction would start in about a year and take two years to complete.

Andrew Blake, a review board member, said the planned “slender building seems to fit in gracefully” on the block.

The project will include a floor of underground tenant and patron parking, about 6,000 square feet for shops and restaurants at the street level, an amenities floor and additional tenant parking floors. The apartments will start on the eighth floor, Marchesani said.

The entire project will be between 250,000 and 280,000 square feet.

We’re happy to find something we like that’s walkable to bars and restaurants and everything people want to enjoy.

Todd Marchesani, director of acquisitions for Southern Land, developer of the proposed 32-story apartment building

Ben Crenshaw, Southern Land’s senior vice president of design, said the company likes to find sites in established neighborhoods and expand on what’s already started. The company also does its own leasing and property management, he said.

“We look all over the country for sites,” Crenshaw said. “We’re a small sort of boutique developer. We only start about four or five projects a year. We’re only looking for sites like this one in the great urban fabric.”

Said Marchesani, “We’re happy to find something we like that’s walkable to bars and restaurants and everything people want to enjoy.”

The project will be near the Hilton Hotel; the Hampton Inn & Suites, which is under construction; the Fort Worth Convention Center; and the Intermodal Transportation Center.

XTO Energy is the biggest private employer in downtown Fort Worth, but now it's planning to move 1,600 jobs to an Exxon campus in Houston over the next three years. So who are the other big employers downtown? You might be surprised.

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