to area around TCU should help with parking, housing
Council decisions will allow mixed-use development on the south
side of Berry Street in an effort to appeal to private investors.
The long-held dream of TCU-area residents and university officials
of a revitalized and tree-lined Berry Street is a few steps closer
Decisions by the Fort Worth City Council last week will allow developers
to build town houses, restaurants and shops on the same property,
on the south side of the street from about TCU to Paschal High School.
Property TCU owns on the north side of Berry Street was rezoned
for mixed use in June for similar purposes.
The changes will allow construction that could bring more housing
and parking into the area, said Carol Campbell, vice chancellor
for business and administration.
By combining areas for students in which to live, work, park and
shop a top priority for the university TCU hopes to
make the campus more residential, said Don Mills, vice chancellor
for student affairs.
This will build the residential atmosphere of our campus,
improving safety and creating a nicer edge for the campus,
Businesses such as fast-food restaurants and hair salons now line
Berry Street, but vacant buildings spoil the landscape. Memories
of the Colonial Cafeteria, Back Porch restaurant and the Stripling
and Cox department store that once kept Berry Street a bustling
shopping district have faded since the 1990s.
Our campus is so nice, said Holly Brady, a freshman
premajor. And then all of the sudden, you hit Berry Street,
and its just not so nice anymore.
movement to revitalize Berry Street began in 1996 when a group of
area residents gathered to form the Berry Street Initiative, said
Sandra Dennehy, the groups president. The group aims to make
Berry Street more pedestrian friendly with a better balance between
cars and pedestrians.
The university has joined the effort out of safety and marketing
concerns, Mills said. When prospective students have wanted to visit
campus, the university has given them directions that avoided Berry
Street, sometimes down Hulen Street, he said.
It has made sense to send them another way, he said.
Junior Ryan Foley said the first time he visited campus when considering
universities to attend, he was shocked.
Although it did not affect my decision to come to TCU, I definitely
thought what the hell is this? Foley said.
But progress is beginning to be seen by initiative members and university
officials on the street. Fernando Costa, the citys planning
director, said the development will create a pedestrian environment
to encourage students to walk to campus and to other stores and
More students will be able to live on campus, preventing a
large flow of traffic into the area, Costa said.
Beginning this summer, the city will begin its final step to attract
private investors with the addition of a median, landscaping, lighting
and trees to Berry Street east from Waits Avenue to west from Forest
Park Boulevard, Costa said.
Dennehy said changes to the street such as a parking lane,
sidewalks and enhanced crosswalks and intersections will
make it more attractive and allow stores and restaurants to front
the street and replace parking spaces.
These changes will balance the flow of pedestrians, automobiles
and bicycles on the street, city officials said.
Some local business managers welcomed the plan.
It is pretty dark at night, said Alex Garcia, who manages
the Berry Street Quiznos Subs. So changes could improve
the security of the area.
Keri Ryan, president of the Bluebonnet Place Neighborhood Association,
said the decisions were imperative in order to draw in the new businesses
required to revitalize the area.
However, Ryan said she worries about noise and the addition of more
late-night bars and restaurants.
There needs to be a buffer zone between high-density development
and our neighborhood, Ryan said.
Jim Johnson, president of the Bluebonnet Hills Neighborhood Association,
said he thinks the change will help rejuvenate the areas aging
housing stock and make the entire area a nicer place.
Like city officials, TCU administrators also hope to use private
developers to revamp Berry Street over the next 10 to 15 years.
Over half of the 145 properties TCU owns are part of the Bellaire
House Condominiums. The university also owns a few other properties
on Berry Street that are vacant. The properties can be leased by
TCU to other companies for development.
The properties that front Berry Street are an investment by
TCU to develop commercially, Campbell said. We hope
to integrate retail with the campus.
For example, Campbell said the development on the parking lots surrounding
Perrottis Pizza will include some retail space on the corners
of the lower level, as well as meeting rooms for campus organizations.
The cost of development is about $45 million, officials said.
a finance and accounting major, said TCU will benefit from a rise
in the value of its properties along Berry Street. Students will
benefit from increased safety in the area, he said.
Student Government Association vice president Megan Brown said she
has met with developers from Phoenix Property Co. to discuss possible
retailers for the complex near Perrottis. She said meeting
rooms will provide another alternative for students to gather and
We want something that can be long-lasting, Brown said,
like a late-night Kinkos or a real Starbucks.
In addition to the complex to be built around Perrottis Pizza,
a wide range of other ideas was suggested to university officials
in response to a request for proposals sent out in June, Campbell
said. University officials will now decide which ones they like
and combine them, she said.
Its all visions and concepts, Campbell said. There
is no concrete planning at this point.
Campbell said TCU officials will incorporate development ideas into
the master plan when they begin revising it this year. The locations
of transportation routes, pedestrian walkways and academic buildings
will be considered, she said.
Among the projects, developers suggested buildings such as a conference
hotel and a retirement community for TCU property near Berry Street
and Stadium Drive, Campbell said.
An all-senior condominium complex could be within walking
distance of concerts, plays and lecture series, she said.
However, Campbell said the universitys primary concerns are
housing and parking.
Dennehy said buildings with apartments and stores will serve the
university, its students and area residents.
If more students live in the area, they will not seek entertainment
elsewhere, Dennehy said.
While the City Council has paved the way for development on Berry
Street, it is still dependent on private investment, Campbell said.
It needs to be economically feasible, Campbell said.
A third party needs to come in and say Yes, development
will be profitable.
To provide economic incentives, the city has designated the area
a Neighborhood Empowerment Zone, which Costa said will allow the
city to waive loans and development fees and to not charge developers
taxes for the increase in property value for five years.
It could be the difference between the success and failure
of a business, Costa said. Something that may only look
marginally feasible could be extremely successful.
The key to development is private investment, and if we dont
see it, we have not succeeded.
of the city of Fort Worth
citys vision of a new Berry Street will have extended
sidewalks, trees and an entire lane dedicated to parking.