We're still months away from the start of service on the new 27-mile TEXRail line that will run from downtown Fort Worth to DFW Airport. But developers are already making big bets on the blocks around the stations and some are taking a unique approach.
A two-acre site at the NW corner of South Main and Vickery will be home to the first transit-oriented development in Fort Worth. Plans include a ten-story apartment building with retail space on the ground floor and a hotel next door.
It’s just south of a TRE stop on the other side of the I-30 overpass and by the end of this year, a TEXRail stop will join it. It’s is not the only development jumping on the TEXRail train.
Construction is in full swing on a new development of 145 townhomes, upscale apartments and retail space at Iron Horse Boulevard and Boulder Drive in North Richland Hills. It's just a five minute walk from the Iron Horse TEXRail station and although that doesn't exist yet, developers are betting access to public transit will draw plenty of interest, especially from young people who don't always want to drive.
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"Yeah! Yes! Just the other day, now that they've started those bikes to go around the city, I've started using those," said North Richland Hills resident Solomon Henry. "I can see it really just starting a lot of new opportunities for people to get new jobs and see new places and not just feel stuck."
One stop up the line, Smithfield Station is under construction also in North Richland Hills, with more townhomes planned there and Grapevine is planning a boutique hotel and other amenities around its stop.
"We're excited to see all these developments around the station, it shows us that we're doing the right thing," said Bob Baulsir, Senior Vice President for Trinity Metro.
It's what Trinity Metro envisioned when they started the project linking downtown Fort Worth to DFW Airport.
"We're gonna connect folks with employment, with transportation to really anywhere in the world," Baulsir said.
And the downtown Fort Worth station will address another of the city's biggest needs: affordable housing. Half the units to be built there will rent to people who make 60% of the area's median income through a partnership with Fort Worth Housing Solutions.
"Entry level from college, college graduates starting out, people on fixed incomes. So it's a variety of people," said Mary-Margaret Lemons, President of Fort Worth Housing Solutions. "We want to put people in areas that they can be successful, so in high opportunity areas in neighborhoods all across the city."
Construction is set to begin early next year on the 94 million dollar housing and retail development by the downtown Fort Worth station.
TEXRail expects to start its commuter rail service at the end of this year.
Developers are even betting on sites where TEXRail could extend in the future. A mixed income apartment complex is set for construction soon in the Near Southside. It's across the street from the proposed site for a Southside TEXRail station that doesn't have funding yet.