Work Begins on Walmart in Southeast Fort Worth

Some in neighborhood wondered if project would ever start

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    NEWSLETTERS

    More than 14 months after the official announcement, work is finally gotten under way at Renaissance Square. (Published Thursday, Jun 21, 2012)

    A part of southeast Fort Worth is buzzing with the sound of construction -- something the area really hasn't seen in years and some doubted would ever come.

    More than 14 months after the official announcement, work is finally under way at Renaissance Square, a development at East Berry Street and Highway 287.

    "I was surprised," said pastor R.E. Shed, of nearly Gospel Chapel Church. "It seemed like it started overnight."

    Shed said he was excited to hear about the project when it was announced but wasn't sure if it would actually happen.

    "I'd given up on it," he said. "They said they were going to put something over there, but it had taken so long to put something over there, I was surprised when they started building."

    The first building under construction is the main anchor store, a Walmart. The building should be ready to open by early next spring, about six months behind when last year's announcement said it would be completed.

    The project was never in any doubt, but even those who helped work on it said they are relieved it has started.

    "It's definitely a relief," said Allen Smith, interim executive director of Southeast Fort Worth. "You work on something for so long, you get a little bit antsy to get started."

    Lockard, the Iowa-based company behind the project, said there was a delay because it is far more careful about what projects it gets involved with.

    But with the Walmart under construction, the rest will start soon, Smith said.

    The redevelopment is already making an impact on those who live and work in the area.

    "It feels good," Shed said. "It feels good to see something going up over there, because this neighborhood was just about to go down. It'll make a turnaround."

    Another major part of the development is fixing the exit from southbound Highway 287 onto East Berry Street. Presently, drivers cannot make a right-hand turn.

    A federal grant is paying for those changes, which should begin soon, the developer said.