We spent the first part of this class with a guest speaker – Mike Brennan who is with Fort Worth South, Inc. His organization is responsible for administering the south Fort Worth TIF district.
Mike showed slides of a number of pictures of projects that have taken advantage of the TIF to redevelop the area. Apparently this TIF has won awards for being such a model TIF.
One project is seen here above – this building was remodeled and is now occupied by an advertising agency.
Of note were two major streets in the area that have seen the most development: South Main Street and Magnolia Street.
For the next part of class, we visited Bill Smith, a developer working on a building near Magnolia Street. He is developing the building to be Live Oak Music Hall and Lounge.
Bill spoke at length about how he had the local community involved in the project from the beginning. He’s been working with neighboring businesses to form a shared courtyard and pool resources for common services.
Another interesting point was that he does almost all of his own design work. He said he didn’t graduate from high school but did take some drafting skills with him. He found himself in the landscaping business for a number of years, then into construction remodeling and now developing.
The most interesting point to his story to me was that all of his investors are local people. A larger company came to invest and get a big chunk of it and he turned them down. After himself, his largest investor is his brick layer.
As you can see from this picture, he has some good taste for interiors. We were able to tour the work and also go up on the roof.
After that we walked up and down Magnolia Street to see some of the other buildings that Mike had mentioned. On the way back we stopped for lunch.
Our professors weren’t able to get in touch with him so we came back to class to discuss our class project which I’ll post here later this week.