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Developers plan 573 Near South Side apartments, seek incentives

By Scott Nishimura
snishimura@bizpress.net

Developers plan three apartment projects on Fort Worth’s Near South Side totaling 573 units, and are asking for up to $3.7 million in reimbursement for public improvements they plan to make.

The proposed developments:

Oleander Investments, LLC plans a $40.9 million, five-story, 322-unit complex in the two blocks bounded by West Rosedale Street, Fairmount Avenue, Oleander Street, and Hurley Avenue. The 274,666-square-foot property would include 420 spaces in structured parking.

Seneca Investments, LLC of Dallas plans a $34.7 million, 227-unit, six-story apartment project at 650 S. Main St. that will include the rehab of an old two-story Coca-Cola bottling plant office building into a first-floor clubhouse and second-story fitness center.

Dr. Gurpreet Bajaj, an orthopedic surgeon, plans a $2.7 million, three-story, 24-unit apartment building on Travis Avenue between West Rosedale Street and Terrell Street.

The board of the city’s Near South Side tax increment finance district will consider the proposals and requests for the reimbursements at its meeting Wednesday.

Paul Paine, president of the Fort Worth South economic development nonprofit and administrator of the TIF, said the proposed developments fit Fort Worth South’s assessment that there’s demand for another 2,000 apartments on the Near South Side on top of the 1,000 that exist today.

Apartments have been running 96-98 percent occupancy, he said. About 30,000 people work in the Near South Side, but data that’s several years old indicated only 2 percent of those employees live on the Near South Side. Seventeen percent of those workers in polling indicated they’d be interested in living in the area.

“The demand is very good for what we have,” Paine said.

The Near South Side’s ongoing renaissance has made the area substantially more attractive to live in since that survey, Paine noted.

“We’ve worked hard to create this environment,” he said.

The Oleander developers are seeking $1.1 million in reimbursement for improvements they expect to make on West Rosedale, including replacing a retaining wall, Paine said. The group also plans stormwater fixes and streetscape work.

One of the two blocks is vacant, and the second includes an apartment building that the developers plan to demolish, Paine said.

The developers plan to start work on the 274,666-square-foot project in January and complete it in December 2016.

Seneca is asking for $2.5 million in reimbursement from the TIF for its a 198,800-square-foot project, called Highpointe on South Main at the southwest corner of Pennsylvania Avenue and South Main.

Seneca plans to demolish an old Coca-Cola warehouse, but preserve the Coca-Cola office building at the corner.

The six-story apartment building would be all-new.

Seneca plans streetscape improvements such as lighting and trees. Part of the reimbursement would go toward the demolition and environmental abatement, allowed under the TIF.

The developers plan to start construction by January 2015 and complete it by July 31, 2016.

Bajaj’s 25,549-square-foot development is the second phase of a project he launched several years ago with the construction of a medical office building.

Bajaj is seeking $75,879 in reimbursement for proposed improvements, including landscaping, irrigation, and lighting.

Bajaj plans to begin construction on the vacant site in July, and complete it in June 2015.

The proposed investment values don’t include what the developers paid for the real estate, Paine said.

The TIF would make the reimbursements upon proof of the expenditures.

One other major apartment project is still on the drawing board for the Near South Side: the Park Place Apartments, on the Quarles lumber site at the southeast corner of Park Place and the Fort Worth & Western Railroad right of way.

The developers obtained approval of a TIF reimbursement last year, but the project has been held up for a lack of financing and its time window has expired, Paine said. The developers would have to return to the TIF for approval of a reimbursement if the project goes forward, he said.

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