to area around TCU should help with parking, housing
long-held dream of TCU-area residents and university
officials of a revitalized and tree-lined Berry Street
is a few steps closer to reality.
Decisions by the Fort Worth City Council 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. The 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 finance 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, Mills said.
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
The 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
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,
Junior Ryan Foley, a finance and accounting major, 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 restaurants.
More students will be able to live on campus,
preventing a large flow of traffic into the area,
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
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
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
Foley 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 study.
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,
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,
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
An all-senior condominium complex could be within
walking distance of concerts, plays and lecture series,
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,
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
The key to development is private investment,
and if we dont see it, we have not succeeded.