Redevelopment Delayed by Recession Now in Full Swing in Fort Worth

Demolition crews started tearing down an old parking garage on Monday

A project stalled by the economic downturn is gearing back up in the heart of Fort Worth. The WestBend development is located along University Drive just south of Interstate 30 and north of Texas Christian University.

It features an 11-story office building now, but in the next year will undergo an urban transformation. It's near an already busy shopping center and is right on the Trinity River.

After several years of little to no progress, demolition crews started changing that this week.

The long sought after sound of construction and sight of twisted steal and busted concrete have arrived.

"I've hated to see it kind of stagnating," said Clarice Penninger, who's lived in the area for 52 years.

The WestBend redevelopment project stalled when the Great Recession hit a few years ago, but as the economy has improved the project is now back in full swing.

A number of years ago work on the parking garage finished. It's predecessor is now being torn down and will be replaced with a new 81,150-square-foot building as part of a mixed-use development.

"Very urban, pedestrian-friendly, we want to make it a really special place, tie it with the river of course, which is a great asset we have behind us," said Tommy Miller, developer Trademark managing director and chief investment officer.

Just off the Trinity Trails will sit retail and restaurant space that Miller indicated already has tenants waiting.

"I've seen the mock-ups of it and it looks like its going to be very nice, a great addition to this area," said Kerry Johnson who works nearby.

It's an area that's already bustling with popular restaurants and University Park Village across the street.

"This project was just a shining example of something that needed to be redeveloped and revitalized," Miller said, calling it under-used in recent years.

The 11-story office tower will also see renovations and total 183,000 square feet of office space. WestBend will also include 95,000 square feet of retail and dining, as it looks to become the city's next big hot spot.

"I'm very excited about it," Johnson said. "It's growth, it's development, it's jobs, it's new opportunities for a lot of people, good thing for the community."

Trademark, the developer, says it has a main anchor store that's fully behind the project. Work should be completed by spring 2015.

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