While specific development plans for the property are still under review, Hillwood said it would study a variety of land use and development options.
“The acquisition of the Oncor property represents an exciting opportunity for Hillwood. It puts us in the middle of one of the fastest-growing corridors not only in downtown Fort Worth but within the entire city,” Steve Aldrich, senior vice president of Hillwood, said in a statement.
The property is bounded by Sixth and Seventh streets to the north and south and Calhoun and Jones streets to the east and west. There are currently two buildings and parking areas on the site that Oncor has owned for decades.
The property is located near a rapidly developing area of downtown. The Texas A&M campus that is currently under construction about six blocks south, and the Deco 969 luxury apartment building at 969 Commerce St.
Two blocks south of the property, the Fort Worth Convention Center recently began a $701 million expansion.
Farther west, the Omni Hotel Fort Worth plans to add a new tower with 400 rooms and additional meeting spaces.
Those were all factors in leading Hillwood to begin looking for a way to invest in the area, said Mike Berry, president of Hillwood.
“We did some rough math and we think there is about $1.3 billion worth of new investment in that area,” said Berry. “I can’t imagine there are many central business districts in the country that have that much investment going right now in 2023. It just further reinforces that it’s got a lot of growth potential still ahead.”
Berry said this purchase may not be the last for Hillwood.
“The purchase of the Oncor property reinforces our belief in Fort Worth and the evolution of downtown, further demonstrating our intent to grow our investments throughout the city,” he said.
Downtown Fort Worth is set to begin a new period of construction that will reshape the area for the next decade, according to a recent report from Downtown Fort Worth Inc., the advocacy organization for the area.
Andy Taft, president of Downtown Fort Worth Inc., said the Hillwood acquisition is part of the growing interest in that part of downtown.
“That quadrant of downtown that’s adjacent to the convention center expansion in the future is going to take off like a rocket,” he said.
Jon McNeil and Ryan Matthews from JLL represented Oncor in the sale of the property. The price for the transaction was not released.
Matthews said downtown Fort Worth is receiving a lot of interest while many other downtowns are having a difficult time financing projects with the current interest rate market.
“If you just look at the deals that just JLL was involved in recently, you have Dart Interests, which is redeveloping the library site, and you have 3L Real Estate out of Chicago, which purchased the Oncor building,” he said. “That’s a lot of activity just with what we’ve done.”
Hillwood has not announced any plans for the building, but Taft said the site is currently zoned “H,” which means the company could build an office, a hotel, a residential offering or some combination of projects.
“That allows a broad category of uses and has unlimited height and has no parking requirement,” he said. “It is the most flexible zoning category in the city’s arsenal and will give a developer a lot of options with regard to what they can do there.”
Hillwood’s investment in Fort Worth and partnerships with the city of Fort Worth began in 1989 with the development of Perot Field Fort Worth Alliance Airport and the mixed-use development that spans 27,000 acres north of downtown.
Hillwood has also been involved in other developments in south Fort Worth and southeast Fort Worth.
“Hillwood’s impact at AllianceTexas and numerous urban developments throughout the region have been immeasurable,” said Fort Worth Mayor Mattie Parker in a statement. “The work already happening in downtown Fort Worth is transformational for our city’s future, and Hillwood’s entry into downtown signals the value of what is possible.”Bob Francis is business editor for the Fort Worth Report. Contact him at email@example.com. At the Fort Worth Report, news decisions are made independently of our board members and financial supporters. Read more about our editorial independence policy here.