FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) – Fort Worth is set to break ground this fall on a new, mixed-income housing development in the Alliance Corridor.

The complex will be named for Opal Lee, a Fort Worth educator and activist, known for her national campaign to make Juneteenth a federal holiday.

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“To have housing, I could do a holy dance,” the 94-year-old said. “I really could. I’m ecstatic.”

Lee says she’s lived in some rough housing in her lifetime and is thankful others will benefit from having a safe, decent place to live.

“And I mean really a decent place to live because that complex is off the chain, that’s what the young folks would say,” said Lee.

The Opal will be modeled after and built right next to the Holston, a luxury apartment complex that just opened in December.

Half of the units go for market rate, while the other half are reserved for those making less than 80% of the area median income, which means a household earning less than $45,300 a year would qualify.

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“We want families that are maybe struggling or just starting out to live next door to someone who’s doing well to show them it can happen for them,” said Mary-Margaret Lemons, the president of Fort Worth Housing Solutions.

Lemons says Fort Worth and Tarrant County need more than 50,000 units of affordable housing to meet the current need.

“Fort Worth is just a really hot market right now, and so everybody wants to move here and they typically put a lot of pressure on the lower-cost units,” she said.

The Holston and The Opal will help address the problem.

“It’s going to be a little bit bigger,” Lemons said. “Because [The Holston] leased up so quickly, we know that there’s a great need up here, so it’s going to be 339 units.”

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Crews plan to break ground on The Opal this November, with construction expected to take about two years and leasing beginning in 2023.

CBSDFW.com Staff