Skip to Main Content

Fort Worth looks to change development rules to diversify downtown growth

January 31,2023

See full Fort Worth Report article by Sandra Sadek here.

Fort Worth’s downtown skyline could see some changes in the future thanks to a newly proposed zoning option for future development.

This proposed change will maintain the current parameters of the downtown zoning – no limitations on units per acre or number of parking spots. But the new option now would allow breweries or distilleries, single-family residences, and impose a maximum height restriction at 10 stories to areas outside of downtown on the east, west and north.

Public hearings for this change will be Feb. 2 at the Downtown Design Review Board and Feb. 15 at the zoning commission. A final council vote is expected March 14.

“There’s been several zoning cases where people have wanted to go higher stories than they’re allowed, where people wanted a little bit more denser development, but we just didn’t have the tool,” said Stephen Murray, planning manager for the city.

If you go: The Downtown Design Review Board meets at 2 p.m. Feb. 2 at City Hall. To sign up to speak, the deadline is 5 p.m. Feb. 1. To sign up, either contact Francisco Vega at or 817-392-7885 or register through WebEx per the directions on the city’s website.

This new zoning classification will be a tool for future land development rather than a complete rezoning of the land immediately surrounding downtown, Murray said.

Current downtown zoning allows for all kinds of commercial retail, restaurants, multifamily residential, printing and publishing operations and no height restrictions.

This means there are no required or limited number of units per acre and number of parking spots.

According to a Jan. 24 informal city staff report, urban infill development has seen increased popularity in the past 10 years in areas around downtown.

“If that spurs new development, I think that would be a great thing,” Murray said. “But we just want to maybe add a little bit more flexibility to our zoning ordinance, especially for those areas.”

This new classification simplifies the “elaborate” zoning process and conforms with the city’s vision for downtown, said Andy Taft, president of Downtown Fort Worth Inc.

“This project is going to help the market achieve that by removing regulatory barriers, while protecting adjacent land uses and being respectful of neighbors,” Taft said.

The downtown real estate market has been undergoing changes, with additional office spaces, residential and hotels coming to the district. A lot of downtown development is considered infill, Taft said, or property redevelopment in an urbanized area. Most recently, Taft pointed to the upcoming 27-story tall Deco 969 and the 330-unit Burnett Lofts.

“Downtown has a very comprehensive list of uses, and higher densities that are allowed. Given what’s coming in the door … a new zoning classification would be very helpful to the development community to streamline the process for both the developer and for the city,” Taft said.

Locations Mentioned: Burnett Lofts, Deco 969