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Fort Worth’s Need For Urban Housing on The Upswing with Texas A&M Expansion

February 2,2023

See full Candy's Dirt article by Joy Donovan here.

Texas A&M recently announced its expansion in downtown Fort Worth, which is great for students, but it could be just as wonderful for the urban housing market.

Aggieland North will be a three-building compound on four city blocks near the Fort Worth convention center. The announcement generated lots of buzz about what it means for Fort Worth, and some of the most excited are Realtors. More home buyers are expected to explore the prospect of residential living near Cowtown’s central business district.

“The expansion of Texas A&M is a welcome and exciting addition to the urban neighborhood in Downtown Fort Worth,” said Debbie Hunn, a real estate broker with The Urban Group at Williams Trew Real Estate. “Not only will Texas A&M bring exciting opportunities of education, it will definitely bring in a new era and a huge new population of urban residents to downtown.”

Buying Downtown
Hunn, a Realtor for 44 years, is among the downtown residents. She has lived in The Tower, a landmark condo structure in downtown Fort Worth since 2006. She said no new residential properties have been added to downtown for at least a decade.

The A&M campus will serve as an anchor that will inspire commitment to more residential properties in the area, according to Andy Taft, president of Downtown Fort Worth, Inc. The city’s downtown renaissance has been 40 years in the making, he said, and currently Fort Worth has $2.2 billion in development at various stages of progress. He points to the renovation of The Oil & Gas Building and the former Oncor building as examples.

“From both a residential and commercial perspective, the real estate market is going to be greatly impacted by the A&M campus expansion,” said Bart Calahan, the 2023 president of the Greater Fort Worth Association of Realtors. “It’s going to transform that end of downtown and bring a lot of people to the area who will be looking for housing that’s convenient to the campus. As a result, there will be a lot of opportunity for growth, and I’m looking forward to watching this project develop.”

There’s still a need for more, say some experts.

“I have condos in the tower I’ve sold four and five times, and I’m ready for some new product,” Hunn said. We need new product, period.”

7th Street Booming Area
Alana Long, Hunn’s business partner and daughter, has specialized in downtown and the 7th Street corridor real estate since 2015. She echoes her mother’s excitement about the possibilities for a real estate bonanza.

Urban housing already dots the landscape in and around downtown Fort Worth. Among existing urban housing options are several high-rises.

In the 76102 Zip Code, The Neil P. at 411 W. 7th St. is an 11-story building across from Burnett Park. The Tower at 500 Throckmorton St. is a 35-story structure, the fourth tallest in Fort Worth. Texas & Pacific Lofts, 201 W. Lancaster Ave., features restored lofts at the site of the Texas and Pacific Railway depot. Omni Residences, 1301 Throckmorton St., was built in 2009 and features 33 floors. The Houston Place Lofts, a nine-story building located at 910 Houston St., was converted from residential apartments to condos in 2005. The three-story Westview condos, 950 Henderson, were built in 2010.

Even with those large residential towers, the downtown housing inventory is insufficient for what’s predicted for Fort Worth.

Limited Inventory
“Downtown Fort Worth is in the prime stage of urban development, and we look forward to more condo and townhome projects being built to meet the growing demand in our downtown,” Hunn said. “The potential upsurge in commercial and residential development are a welcome addition for downtown.”

Additionally, the housing demand most likely won’t be limited to the immediate area, but should expand to neighboring developments.

“The impact will be huge, not only for downtown, but for the near Southside area and the West 7th Street corridor,” Long said. “With the redevelopment of Montgomery Plaza into another 600 luxury apartments, this area will continue to boom along with downtown.”

Since she’s a resident of this area, she’s witnessed the city is working to provide infrastructure to link the two communities. The downtown and West 7th areas are the two most densely populated districts in Fort Worth, said Long, resulting in increased property values.

“We are thrilled to see development that will encompass the yet-to-be-developed areas in Downtown and the South Main district,” Long said, who lives in the 7th Street corridor. “The residential market and buyer demand for innovative housing in our urban areas will bring an incredible market we have not experienced in urban Fort Worth.”

Locations Mentioned: Texas A&M Fort Worth, Texas A&M University School of Law