A developer is planning to build a 291-unit apartment complex along Fort Worth’s Hemphill Street in a part of the city that hasn’t seen new multi-family housing in more than 50 years.
The project, called Tobias Place, has the full support of city council member Elizabeth Beck.
“I think it’s a real positive for the community,” Beck said.
The rents will be affordable, geared toward the working class, and will help relieve the city-wide housing crunch, she said.
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The president of the Worth Heights neighborhood association, Joe Guerrero, also supports the plan.
"Personally I'm excited for the area, for the community, to bring more business in here,” Guerrero said. “I think it's very positive."
But a neighborhood group, Hemphill No Se Vende, which means 'Hemphill is not for sale', is fighting the project.
Ricardo Avitia, a founder of the group, said the complex would change the face of the historically Latino neighborhood, which is just south of downtown.
"It's not going to benefit the community,” Avitia said. "Right now the city of Fort Worth lacks in parks and recreation spaces like swimming pools and we believe something like that would better fit our community's needs."
Avitia also questioned whether the apartments would really serve lower-income people – or cater to a wealthier clientele who want to live near the booming medical district a few miles away.
The Dallas-based developer, Ojala Partners, promises the rent will be affordable and is working with Fort Worth Housing Solutions, the city’s public housing agency.
Fort Worth’s zoning commission recently voted unanimously in support of the apartments.
The city council is set to vote on the project next Tuesday.