Fort Worth City Council voted Aug. 22 to loan $7 million to the Fort Worth Housing Finance Corporation to purchase the $11 million, 15-acre plot of land from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary for affordable housing, with hopes of having it owned and managed by a community land trust.
This is the first time the city of Fort Worth has taken steps to partner with a community land trust. Community land trusts are nonprofit organizations with boards made up of residents and community members, who hold land on behalf of a community. Those organizations often push for projects that bring affordable housing, community spaces and other amenities to a particular community.
Community land trusts help separate the costs of a home and improvements to that property from the costs of real estate – making homeownership more accessible for low- to moderate-income families.
The 11 acres in question are located at 4096 and 4097 Merida Ave. and 4048 McCart Ave. Proposed plans for the site include 140 duplex, triplex and quadplex units with either one- or two-bedrooms.
Once the city completes the purchase of the property from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, it will assign the site to a local nonprofit to manage the property. That nonprofit has not been selected.
Fort Worth Housing Finance Corporation plans to have a partner selected by early 2024.
This decision drops just a week after the city unveiled its latest affordable housing report in an effort to support the development of more affordable housing across Fort Worth. According to the report, over 100,000 households across Fort Worth spend over 30% of their income on housing.
Affordable housing plays an important role in attracting a skilled workforce and making the city thrive, Fort Worth Mayor Mattie Parker said in a statement.
“Smart housing strategies leverage opportunities when they come, work with the community to meet their needs and provide holistic, long-term solutions that will benefit the city far into the future,” Parker said. “I am proud that we are pursuing an innovative approach for doing just that.”
The Fort Worth Housing Finance Corporation had initially made an offer back in March to purchase the plot of land from the school alongside other nonprofits such as One Safe Place, the Rainwater, Morris, Amon Carter, Sid Richardson and Paulos foundations.
However, financing for that joint venture fell through, according to a city news release.
“As the fastest-growing large city in the country, we must ensure we address the housing needs of our community. This effort will have a significant, lasting impact on the lives of the families by providing an affordable path to homeownership,” council member Elizabeth Beck said in a press release.
Editor’s note: This story was updated Aug. 24 to note that Baptist Theological Seminary is a school.
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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