The Fort Worth Weekly does a good job shining the light on some of the issues 7th street and the surrounding neighborhoods face.
We've had the same parking problems there. If you want to visit those businesses in the area that are growing without the help of the NCTCOG or tax abatement's, you'll have to find somewhere to park. Those garages on Morton Street aren't for the Morton Street customers...
By the way, where does the COG get all this grant money? WHO approves what it is spent on?
Afterward, the group spent about 45 minutes at Capital Bar, listening to music and having a few drinks. When they went back to the garage, the car was gone.
“When we asked where our car was, the security guard said he saw us going into Capital Bar right after we parked,” Turner said. “But then we told him we were at Delaney’s. He said ‘You didn’t go there.’ We showed him the receipt from Delaney’s, and he still said we had violated their policy. He was extremely rude.”
Turner and her husband saw a Fort Worth Police patrol car on the street and asked for help. The officers intervened and convinced the security guard that he’d had the car towed illegally and should get it back for the Turners. The security guard agreed, and the towing charges were dropped. But the Turners had to pick up the car at a lot in east Fort Worth. The whole ordeal took about two hours, she said.
“I was seven months pregnant at the time, and here I am traipsing through a tow yard in the dark to get my car,” Sarah Turner said. “My husband and I have decided we won’t go to any restaurant or bar in the development because of what happened.”
State and federal public funding comes from “sustainability grants” through the North Central Texas Council of Governments. To qualify, projects must include higher-density housing and mixed-use retail, which in turn is expected to improve pedestrian mobility and get cars off the road.
So7 received $4.3 million from NCTCOG for construction of Museum Way for better access from West 7th, plus sidewalk improvements. Of that, $1.7 million is paying for a pedestrian bridge now being built over the Trinity River just to the east.
Museum Place received $2.4 million from NCTCOG for the reconstruction of West 7th Street in front of its property, along with streetscape improvements. The development also earned $192,000 in city tax abatements for 2011 on its completed first phase, the eight-story office/condo tower and the new 7-Eleven store with five housing units above it. The next phase, involving the apartment complex, must be finished by the end of 2012 to meet the abatement agreement terms, and Pettigrew said he expects to make that deadline. However, phases three and four — which will include another apartment mixed-use development and a hotel — must be completed by the end of 2013, and that is unlikely.
“We will probably ask the city for an extension for those phases,” he said.
Fort Worth is providing help through two other programs, one involving grants to bridge funding gaps and ensure that projects get completed and the other involving enhanced infrastructure. In both, developers negotiate terms with the city, involving the number of jobs to be created, the percentage of work that will go to local firms, the amount of private money to be raised, and completion dates on various parts of the project.
Montgomery Plaza has a 21-year tax-abatement agreement covering all property and sales taxes. This year, those benefits will total $835,000. In addition, the development got $172,000 for the infrastructure improvements.
Cypress Equities negotiated a 15-year tax abatement on 75 percent of its property taxes but won’t realize any of those savings until the whole project is finished, by the end of the year.