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Fort Worth officials on Tuesday night cleared the way for an $850 million retail and residential project a mile north of the West 7th entertainment district and just minutes from downtown.

City Council members unanimously approved the rezoning of 11.45 acres of industrial land on the south bank of the Trinity River at the intersection of North University Drive and White Settlement Road. Dallas-based developer Larkspur Capital plans to replace several blocks of dilapidated administrative buildings and warehouses with apartments and retail space.

All city zoning commissioners supported the proposed change during their May meeting. Planning staff concluded that the project was “compatible” with the use of the surrounding land and “consistent” with the city’s comprehensive plan, its comprehensive plan for assessing and planning for Fort Worth’s growth.

“Through the proposed rezoning and potential future initiatives, city staff expect to encourage more favorable development in this general area,” planning staff wrote in their analysis. “This particular location serves as a central connection between Panther Island and West 7th Street, providing a link to the downtown core.”

According to initial plans, the entire “urban village” would span about 35 acres. Larkspur has partnered with Keystone Group LP, a private equity firm owned by Fort Worth billionaire Robert Bass, to make the project a reality.

Much of the land within the project boundaries owned by Autobahn Realty Partners will retain its industrial status. The luxury car dealership (also affiliated with the Bass family) has considered a move to Benbrook and the Clearfork development, but no major move has occurred so far.

Autobahn’s MINI and Volvo shops once bordered the Fort Worth Independent School District’s headquarters, which was located at 100 N University until the city sold the land and moved west in 2020. This year, developers razed the three-story building.

Fort Worth city councilors and the investors seeking their approval hope the development planned in its place will become one of the city’s next urban centers. The West 7th neighborhood, a short drive south, offers an imperfect model of renewal – miles of garages and warehouses that have been transformed in recent years into bustling homes, restaurants and work spaces.

The Larkspur development would also be about a mile west of Panther Island, an ambitious, high-rise-friendly megaproject that leaders and planners hope will boost the vitality of downtown Fort Worth.

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