Master-Planned Residential Community to Rise in Fort Worth

A group of private and public partners has broken ground on the first phase of Columbia at Renaissance Square.
Rendering of Columbia at Renaissance Square (PRNewsFoto/Columbia Renaissance Square)

Rendering of Columbia at Renaissance Square (PRNewsFoto/Columbia Renaissance Square)

Fort Worth, Texas—A collaboration between private and public partners have broken ground on the first phase of Columbia at Renaissance Square, a master-planned community that the partnership hopes will transform Southeast Forth Worth.

The partners, formally called Columbia Renaissance Square I LP, include Atlanta-based Columbia Residential, the city of Fort Worth, BBVA Compass Bank, RBC Capital Markets and Renaissance Heights United.

The development, which will include three phases of mixed-income housing, will be located between Mitchell Boulevard and Wichita Street in the city’s Mason Heights neighborhood. Construction on Phase I has started, bringing 140 units of mixed-income housing. Phase II will bring 120 units of senior housing and is expected to begin construction in early 2017. The total project is scheduled for completion by late 2017.

The vision for the community was developed by various players in addition to the development partners, including community officials, town planners and designers.

“This groundbreaking is an exciting next step in the overall revitalization efforts in our Stop Six neighborhood. Starting first in Renaissance Square, these apartments coming in will not only provide an excellent housing option, but also pair nicely with our city-wide efforts to focus on health, education and engagement,” said Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price.

The Stop Six neighborhood is a historic district that got its name more than 100 years ago because of its location as the sixth stop on the Northern Texas Traction Co.’s interurban passenger rail line between Dallas and Forth Worth.

The community will be surrounded by infrastructure for biking, pedestrian-oriented streetscapes, easy access to Cobb park and large green spaces to encourage an active lifestyle. A future YMCA facility, grocery store and health clinics are also planned for the site, as well as space to host a farmer’s market, onsite gardening and farming.

“Our goal is to transform the existing site and provide high-quality and sustainable affordable housing for the people of Fort Worth to be proud of and enjoy for years to come,” said Noel Khalil, CEO of Columbia Residential.

With the support of the city of Forth Worth, Columbia Renaissance Square I LP applied in February 2015 to the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs for 2015 Competitive (9 percent) Housing Tax Credits to develop the community. The city already committed $1.2 million of its HOME Investment Partnership Program grant funds to the partnership in 2014, contingent on receipt of the tax credits, according to city records. Columbia Residential previously applied for tax credits in 2014, but was denied.

Columbia at Renaissance Square will also have education centers, retail and office space onsite. Attractions include: The Shoppes, 300,000 square feet of shopping dining and entertainment with another 200,000 square feet planned for development; The Villages, 80 acres of land zoned for residential development and senior housing; and The Suites, 20 acres of land ready for office use.

The developer of the 200-acre Renaissance Square, Hap Baggett, chose Columbia Residential to develop and manage residential units at the community in late 2013. Baggett bought the property back in 2005, according to a report from real estate solutions firm Lockard, which was the vertical developer for the 67-acre The Shoppes that opened in 2013. The site was previously the Masonic Home and School of Texas, which operated from Jun e1899,