Fort Worth’s City Council will consider approving a tax abatement agreement on Aug. 22 to construct a new 357-unit residential complex on Hemphill Street.
The proposed apartment complex, known as Livano Victory Forest, is at 3220 Hemphill St., a vacant site behind the now-closed Our Lady of Victory Academy which was run by the Sisters of St. Mary of Namur. The estimated cost of the project is $72 million, up from the $65 million originally reported. The agreement, if approved, exempts the developer from paying municipal property taxes for five years.
The Sisters of St. Mary of Namur are best known in Fort Worth for their education efforts. The sisters opened St. Ignatius Academy in 1889 and expanded again in 1905 by opening Our Lady of Victory Academy. The academy closed in 2021 after 111 years.
While the Sisters of St. Mary of Namur currently own the vacant lot in question, they plan to sell it to Hemphill Residences, LLC, which shares the same address as Alabama-based LIV Development.
Jennifer Henderson with J.O. Agency is representing the sisters and said more information about the project cannot be shared at this time ‘because of the timing and the stage at which the contract is in.”
Tax abatements are agreements between a city, county or special district and taxpayers that exempt the taxpayer from paying some or all taxes for up to 10 years. These agreements are often used as economic development tools to attract new projects or retain existing businesses.
The proposed project is in one of the city’s neighborhood empowerment reinvestment zone. These zones are often in distressed areas where the city works to promote affordable housing, economic development and social services in the city core through incentive packages like tax abatements, said Sarah Odle, neighborhood development coordinator with the city of Fort Worth’s neighborhood services.
“It has been really successful in areas, and I’m really pleased to see that. It’s nice to be able to see all of the projects that we certify,” Odle said. “This does really great things for small businesses in your neighborhood which is what we want to see, what we want to encourage.”
The zone’s boundaries include Vickery Boulevard and Morris Street to the north; Felix Street, Joel East Road, Mansfield Highway and Interstate 20 to the south; Lake Arlington to the east; and Hemphill Street, West Jessamine Street, Lipscomb Street, West Rosedale Street and Travis Avenue to the west.
Fort Worth’s tax abatement policy in neighborhood empowerment zones fully exempts the property owner from paying municipal property taxes on any improvements made on a property for five years. This includes new and remodels.
One of the requirements for multifamily projects seeking a tax abatement is to either set aside some units for low-income tenants or pay $200 per unit for five years to the Fort Worth Housing Finance Corporation, which can use that money toward building more affordable housing.
The future owner of the site has chosen the second option, Odle said.
Sandra Sadek is a Report for America corps member, covering growth for the Fort Worth Report. You can contact her at email@example.com or on Twitter at @ssadek19.
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