FORT WORTH (CBS 11 NEWS) – Nestled between the Fort Worth Convention Center and the gleaming Omni Hotel, lined by wide streets and exotic lighting towers there is… nothing.
“Yeah,” said city spokesman Jason Lamers as he looked at the cracked asphalt next to large grassy areas. “There’s nothing but grass and this old street. Actually Lancaster was moved south to make room for this open space. And there’s a reason for this open space.”
The reason was to allow space for development. That hasn’t happened. And the lack of development is obvious to the people who live and work around here — even for something as simple as finding lunch.
“We only get 30 minutes so even if you call it in, it’s way on the other end (of downtown), so by the time you go and get it lunch is over,” said Vickie Brown who works at the Omni.
And parking is at a premium.
“Generally I try to park in the Commerce parking garage,” said Christie Mitchell who works at a spa in the area. “But today it was full so I’m going to have to come out here twice to feed the meter between my appointments.”
Fort Worth, a private development corporation and the Catholic Diocese of Fort Worth are teaming up to change that.
Plans call for three five-story, mixed-use buildings in the area.
The architecture hasn’t been decided yet.
The Diocese would lease out the land to provide a 450-spot parking garage. It would also move its offices into the three new buildings.
There would be retail space and 90 apartments would be added using federal grants.
“If you’re familiar with any of the activity on Magnolia or any of the activity on West Seventh, that’s what’s going to happen here,” Lamers said.
The next steps will be hiring a development consultant and allowing developers to flesh out plans for the project.
The project has almost been killed several times. But this week a city committee gave it preliminary approval, so now it can continue to move through the rest of the lengthy approval process.