Fort Worth

New Fort Worth Mixed-Income Housing Community Named for Opal Lee

The apartments will be built in far North Fort Worth near Alliance Airport

Opal Lee, 94, stands in front of the East Annie Street lot on June 2, 2021, where white rioters attacked, invaded and burned her family's home in 1939.
Amanda McCoy/Fort Worth Star-Telegram/Tribune News Service via Getty Images

A housing development named for a Fort Worth civil rights activist will offer half of its units to households earning less than 80% of the area median income.

Fort Worth Housing Solutions on Friday announced "The Opal," a 339-unit mixed-income community. The apartments will be at Westport Parkway and what will eventually become North Beach Street.

The project was developed between nonprofit Fort Worth Housing Solutions and developer AMTEX.

Opal Lee, 94, is a retired educator who has worked to raise national awareness in an effort to make Juneteenth a federal holiday. Juneteenth, short for June 19, marks the day in 1865 when slaves in Texas found out they had been freed by the Emancipation Proclamation, signed by President Abraham Lincoln more than two years earlier.

"I'm humbled by the naming of this property for me," Lee said. "I've lived in some really bad housing in my lifetime, and I am thankful that others are reaping the benefit of excellent housing developed today."

According to the nonprofit, half of the units at The Opal will be leased at market rate and the other half will be available to households earning less than 80% of the area's median income -- $45,300 or less per year. Five percent of the units will be for households earning less than 50% of the median income, or $28,300 or less annually.

The Opal is the sixth property developed by Fort Worth Housing Solutions and AMTEX. FWHS, formally the Fort Worth Housing Authority, started in 1938 to provide housing to low-to-moderate income residents, according to its website.

"We are thrilled to be able to recognize a woman who has become a national icon in the Juneteenth movement by naming a beautiful new community in honor of Opal Lee," FWHS President Mary-Margaret Lemons said. "Ms. Opal has always advocated for opportunity, and residents who choose to make The Opal their home will love the access this community has to job centers, great schools and the thriving Alliance Airport area."

Construction on The Opal is scheduled to start Nov. 1 with leasing to start in 2023, AMTEX founder and CEO Percy Vaz said.

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