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Developer buying Fort Worth downtown library weighs possible high-rises on prime site

March 6,2023

See full Fort Worth Star-Telegram article by Jenny Rudolph here.

The developer purchasing the Fort Worth Central Library in downtown says it’s too early to know what it might do with the block-size property, but preliminary discussions have apparently included one or two high-rise towers.

Dart Interests is buying the 2.4-acre property at 500 W. Third St. for $18 million in a deal that closes in May.

A pre-development concept rendering of the property shows modern towers at the site, which is a prime downtown location three blocks from Sundance Square Plaza.

The city of Fort Worth decided to sell the library to Dart Interests in December, months after the library said it would downsize the downtown branch because it no longer needed that much space. The library will leave the 234,000-square-foot building and relocate to a new space within a year of the deal becoming official.

“We are big fans of Fort Worth and downtown Fort Worth, especially,” said Dart Interests president Christopher Kelsey. “We think it is a great place both to live and work, so our overall goal is to enhance the existing vitality of the downtown.”

Kelsey said Dart Interests has yet to determine the best possible uses for the property and design for the project.

“While we generally have a good idea of the choices that we need to make, we have a lot of research to do, including talking to a lot of people in Fort Worth, to decide the final direction for the future property,” said Kelsey. “We will then work with architects and engineers to design the project. Assuming the market timing is good when we get through that process, then construction will begin.”

Fort Worth’s economic development director, Robert Sturns, said the city is working closely with Dart Interests and looks forward to seeing new investment in Fort Worth’s central business district.

“The site at 500 W. 3rd St. presents an outstanding opportunity for redevelopment – not only due its size and location, but because it builds on the momentum created by other development projects happening in and around downtown right now,” Sturns said.

The developer previously said a project featuring two towers makes the most sense for the site, the Dallas Business Journal reported, but Kelsey declined to comment further.

“The reality is that we are simply not that far along in the design,” Kelsey said. “The little bit of design work that has been completed simply gave us the confidence that the project made sense.”

The property on West Third Street is zoned for both multi-family and commercial uses under Fort Worth’s Downtown Design Review Board purview. Built in 1980, the current structure is not considered a historic landmark.

Dart Interests is based in Dallas and has projects in 12 markets across seven states, including New York City, Washington D.C. and Houston. This is the real estate development and investment firm’s first project in North Texas.

The firm is currently in the works on a new $700 million Florida resort next to Orlando’s Walt Disney World.

Location Mentioned: Sundance Square Plaza