“Keep in mind — there’s a long way to go in completing this project,” Councilman Bill Blaydes recently told a crowded auditorium at the
He was talking about the proposed
The developer, Trademark Acquisitions and Development of Fort Worth, foresees the center as a downtown area for Lake Highlands, with a combination of shops, restaurants, offices and urban housing such as lofts, townhomes and smaller apartments called “granny flats.” The developers also plan to incorporate a new park system with a “village green” for community events as well as a DART station.
The architect firm hired for the project, RTKL, has been successful in creating similar developments, including
Gunning and his associates have come up with a master plan that will consist of more than 100,000 square feet of retail, 29,000 square feet of offices, 839 loft units, 110 townhome units and 31 granny-flat units. The townhomes will sell for between $180,000-$600,000, and the lofts will rent for $800-$1,200 a month.
So far no retailers have been named, but Gunning says he envisions more locally owned shops than national chain retailers.
During the next 90 days, Blaydes and developer will take their plans to the zoning commission and the City Council. Although the three affected apartment complexes (Sutter Wood, Ashton Springs and Ashton Point) are under contract, the deals will not be finalized until the project has passed through zoning and city council.
A timeline for completion of the
The project cost is projected to be near $270 million, including $16 million for streets and infrastructure and an additional $14 million DART station.
The developer hopes to employ a Tax Increment Financing District — the first time this system will be used outside of downtown Dallas. A TIF would allow the developer limited benefit in the form of property tax breaks as the value of the property grows to help pay for streets, utilities and other infrastructure improvements.
One concern is the Lake Highlands community’s ability to support this much new retail. For that, Blaydes offers a bit of a warning: “If we’re gonna bring them in, then we’ve gotta support them.”