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Board Advises Buying More Land for Fort Worth’s Trinity Uptown

July 24, 2008

By Max B. Baker, Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Texas

Jul. 24–FORT WORTH — Less than a week before knocking down the first structures in the path of Trinity Uptown, the Trinity River Vision Authority board on Wednesday recommended buying two more pieces of property needed for the construction of the $576 million flood-control and economic-development project.

The board recommends that the Tarrant Regional Water District buy land at 2005 White Settlement Road. The Tarrant Appraisal District lists the taxable value of the property, about a third of an acre, at about $274,000.

The board also suggested that the water district buy about a half acre at 337 Greenleaf St. The land has a taxable value of about $383,000, according to appraisal district records.

The water district board created the authority to oversee construction of Trinity Uptown, but it must approve land purchases. The water district has agreed to spend about $64 million for land for the project.

Typically, the authority reveals what it has agreed to pay for property at its meetings. But authority Executive Director J.D. Granger said the sale price was not disclosed because the district would not vote on the purchases until August.

Prices for the land have been exceeding the value set by the appraisal district, fueled partly by land speculation created by the project itself and by other market forces, including the shrinking inventory of land available near downtown.

So far, the water district has paid about $6.4 million for four other parcels, about 8 acres.

On Monday, officials will clear away the abandoned Sims Motel at 901 N. Henderson St., the first buildings to be knocked down to make way for Trinity Uptown.

The Henderson Street land is needed for the construction of the Trinity River bypass channel and a White Settlement Road bridge, both major components of the project.

Trinity Uptown will include a river bypass channel and a town lake, creating an 800-acre island for development just north of downtown Fort Worth. Besides locks, dams, and levees, three bridges will be built.

This year, the project was expanded to include Gateway Park and the Riverside Oxbow on the east side of downtown, adding 1,000 acres.

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