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One high-rise residence in Downtown Fort Worth ready to break ground, another won’t move forward

May 23,2021

See full Fort Worth Business Press article by FWBP Contributor, John Kent here.

Construction on a new, 27-story residential and retail tower in downtown Fort Worth is set to begin soon, while another downtown high-rise project has been declared dead.

Robert Sturns, director of Fort Worth’s Economic Development Department, confirmed that work on the 901 Commerce project should start in the next few months. “Looks like they are shooting to break ground sometime this summer,” Sturns said.

The building, designed by GDA Architects of Dallas, will comprise more than 300,000 square feet of rental space, including a restaurant and 302 apartments and penthouses. Nineteen residential floors will sit atop eight stories of above-grade parking. Originally envisioned to be up to 32 stories tall, the design was scaled back to 26 early in the planning process. A later revision brought the structure back up to 27 stories. The 901 Commerce Street address is bounded by East 9th, West 8th and Calhoun streets. The tower will rise just northwest of the Fort Worth Convention Center. A one-minute walk will get residents to the Fort Worth Central Station rail and bus terminal.

“901 Commerce sits at the junction of the high-rise core and the Convention Center area,” said Andy Taft, president of Downtown Fort Worth Inc. “A high-rise residential project here, adjacent to our Central Station mass transit center, will add market gravity to this part of downtown, encouraging other developers to transform nearby, long-underutilized blocks.” 

Outgoing District 9 City Councilwoman Ann Zadeh, who represents the downtown area, believes the central business district is ripe for further residential development. “I think we’re poised right on the edge of a lot of stuff happening in our downtown,” Zadeh said. “You can have the quality-of-life things you have in an urban core, the world-class museums, a multitude of parks downtown. So, I think that it’s an attractive place for people who want to live in an urban environment.” She notes that downtown still has plenty of vacant land – including surface parking lots – that could host new construction projects.

Southern Land Co. of Nashville is developing the 901 Commerce property and expects the building to take at least two years to complete. But the restaurant space and lower-level units could open for business while construction is wrapping up on the upper levels. “We’re ready to make a major impact on downtown Fort Worth,” said Michael McNally, senior vice president of Southern Land Co. Off-site improvements could begin as early as several weeks from now, he said, with vertical construction likely to be under way in September.

“This project will establish a new price point in downtown that will demonstrate to others the viability of high-rise apartment development,” Taft said. “The city had adopted a new economic development program that encourages certain development goals in downtown. 901 Commerce is the poster child for the high density, high quality development envisioned in the program.”

It’s a different story on the northwestern edge of downtown, where the ultramodern, 30-story Worth condominiums have fizzled out. “That is not moving forward,” Sturns said. The Worth, also a GDA design, targeted a high-end clientele and had been marketed as a “gateway to Panther Island.” It received zoning approval from the Fort Worth City Council on April 3, 2018, but the purchase of the land was not completed and ground was never broken. The property, at 330 North Henderson, has since gone back on the market.

Another planned multistory downtown project is presently in a holding pattern because of the COVID pandemic, Sturns said. A proposed high-rise annex to the Omni Fort Worth Hotel, which renderings show to be about two-thirds as tall as the main 33-story tower, would be constructed one block south of the existing hotel and would front onto Lancaster Avenue. The project would complement a planned $400 million-plus expansion of the nearby Fort Worth Convention Center, which itself includes a new, 1,000-room hotel.

Locations Mentioned: Fort Worth Convention Center, Omni Fort Worth Hotel