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More residential development is inbound for downtown Fort Worth

November 30,2021

See full Dallas Business Journal article by Spencer Brewer here.

While downtown Fort Worth has yet to fully recover from the pandemic, several new developments in the pipeline promise to change the face of the area, adding to its growing residential and hospitality footprint. 

The downtown area has been picking up steam recently, but full recovery is not anticipated until 2022. While the office market is still struggling post-pandemic, several residential and hospitality developments are inbound or in progress in the downtown area. 

“I think one of the under appreciated trends is the ascendancy of residential as a powerful and legitimate economic force and land use,” Andy Taft said. “People talk about residential, but they’re not talking about what those disposable dollars represent.” 

Taft is the president of Downtown Fort Worth Inc., the non-profit downtown planning, public space management and advocacy organization. There are currently 1,200 residential units in various phases of development downtown, he said. 

Southern Land Company recently began construction on a 27-story residential high rise in the heart of downtown. Taft said there are three additional multifamily high rise developments in the works. The developers behind all three of these multifamily additions have already secured land, he said. 

Taft spoke with the Dallas Business Journal about additional upcoming changes to the downtown area and what he expects going into the next year. 

North Texas as a whole, including the Fort Worth area, have seen a pretty incredible level of investment in multifamily. How much multifamily expansion do you see in the area? 

The markets are going to determine that. I think availability of land will be the limiting factor as long as Fort Worth continues to be the fastest-growing large city in America. We’re capturing a fair share of the growth of housing units. It’s a very modest share, but for the size of downtown Fort Worth, which is a two-mile square, I feel like we’re capturing our fair share. 

So the availability of land will determine how much residential gets built and in what form. The number of three-acre sites available in downtown is rapidly diminishing. So the traditional Texas donut is probably a waning form for downtown and the new Deco 969 is probably the future. 

There hasn’t been a whole lot of office construction in the downtown area. Do you see that changing in the near future? 

I would predict in the next year, we’re going to need to absorb some of the vacancy that we’ve got and then the rates need to improve before we see developers build new buildings downtown of any significant size. We may see some small office buildings built, but we need to improve occupancy rates and the price per square foot. 

That’s barring a developer coming in with a significant anchor tenant of course, that changes the profile. I will say that the city has created a series of incentives to help developers, especially if they are converting surface parking lots and vacant land into buildings that house new companies in Fort Worth. 

What timetable are you looking at as far as downtown’s full recovery from the pandemic? 

I think we’ll probably be in the next year before we’re fully recovered. The office user needs to come back. We’re at about 60% now, and it continues to grow. The conventions and the business travelers are starting to come back, so the hospitality market is back. The weekends are at pre-pandemic levels, but the business travel and convention travel is a little lower than it was pre-pandemic. As a result of the office (setback), and business travel obviously, the restaurateurs and retailers aren’t seeing the kinds of sales that they did pre-pandemic. So this is probably all going to come back in 2022 barring any kind of significant pandemic-related setbacks. 


Location Mentioned: Deco 969