Transformation of Historic Hunter Plaza into Affordable Loft-Style Apartments Begins in Downtown Fort Worth

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Fort Worth Housing Authority engaged BOKA Powell to redesign classic 1950s apartment building into modern loft-style apartments

The $29 million redevelopment project will transform the historic 11-story property into a mixed-use, mixed income residential building. Rendering courtesy of BOKA Powell.

“The redevelopment of Hunter Plaza will add and restore additional quality affordable workforce housing to the Central Business District in Fort Worth,” said Brian Dennison, Fort Worth Housing Authority.

Tomorrow, BOKA Powell will join the Fort Worth Housing Authority in a “wall-breaking” event celebrating the start of construction at Hunter Plaza at 605 West 1st Street in downtown Fort Worth. The $29 million redevelopment project will transform the historic 11-story property into a mixed-use, mixed income residential building, comprised of market rate and affordable units. The new Hunter Plaza will have 164 one and two-bedroom loft-style units ranging in size from 550 to 850 square feet, and 10,000 square feet of ground-floor commercial space.

“The redevelopment of Hunter Plaza will add and restore additional quality affordable workforce housing to the Central Business District in Fort Worth,” said Brian Dennison, vice president of development and asset management, Fort Worth Housing Authority. “BOKA Powell has been a great architectural collaborator on this transformation project and we are excited to see the project becoming a reality.”

The renovation and restoration process will preserve the existing façade of the classic 1950s apartment hotel, and interior elements including the main lobby, corridors and the original unique door frames. The renovated apartment units will feature exposed concrete columns and ceilings, and large operable windows.

“The nature of this historic property creates unique unit configurations,” said Robby Reid, project manager with BOKA Powell. “Shallow floor-to-floor heights in this historic building required creativity to make the spaces feel open and inviting. These loft-like environments feature lots of windows and light, including floor-to-ceiling glass walls in certain units to facilitate natural light infiltration.”

Building amenities will include a media room, community activity room, library, business center, and fitness room, as well as retail on the ground floor. A four-story parking garage with 182 spaces, screened with a coated fabric to soften the exterior, will be constructed on the existing surface parking lot at the back of the site.

In keeping with the city of Fort Worth’s plans to create walkable corridors downtown, an enhanced, well-lit pedestrian streetscape will connect Hunter Plaza with Sundance Square. The project is scheduled for completion in December 2015, with pre-leasing opportunities opening in October 2015.

BOKA Powell is providing architectural design and interior design services for the project, working closely with the Fort Worth Housing Authority, the building’s owner, as well as developer Carleton Development LTD, general contractor SEDALCO Construction and historic preservation consultant Quimby McCoy Preservation Architecture, LLP.

The Hunter Plaza redevelopment project includes public partners such as the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs, the City of Fort Worth and Downtown TIF #3. The project’s private partners include funding and support from PNC Bank, Stonehenge Capital, Community Bank of Texas NA, and Bank of Texas.

History of the Hunter Plaza:
Built in 1954 as the Fortune Arms Hotel/Apartments, 605 West 1st Street was the largest residential building constructed in downtown Fort Worth in the post-war era and is an excellent example of a mid-century mid-rise apartment building. It was designed as an alternative model of housing for professionals, singles and married couples without children. As a multi-functional building, it was designed for the convenience of the tenant with the inclusion of retail and personal service - the first of this type of housing in post-war Fort Worth. The 11-story building was purchased in 1971 by the Fort Worth Housing Authority and converted into public housing for elderly and disabled residents. The Housing Authority’s Administration offices were located in the building from 1971 until 1996. In 2010, Hunter Plaza was vacated and has remained closed until now. The building is eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places and will be formally listed when construction is complete in 2015.

About the Fort Worth Housing Authority (FWHA):
FWHA develops, owns and operates quality affordable and accessible housing that provides assistance to citizens of Fort Worth utilizing various federal, state and local programs. Currently, FWHA owns 1,003 public housing units, 2,821 affordable housing units, 525 market-rate units; administers more than 6,300 housing vouchers; and operates 2 homeownership programs. @FWHAmedia

About BOKA Powell:
BOKA Powell is a nationally recognized architectural design, planning and interior design firm, with office locations in Fort Worth, Dallas and Austin, Texas. BOKA Powell’s areas of focus include commercial office, health care, higher education, hospitality, multi-family and mixed use planning and design. BOKA Powell’s recent Tarrant County projects include The Carnegie at Sundance Square, Mercedes-Benz Financial Services at Heritage Commons, Daimler Chrysler Financial Services at Westlake, John Peter Smith Health Network strategic master plan, Tarrant County College District institutional plan, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary graduate student housing, Texas Wesleyan graduate student housing, and Texas Wesleyan law library renovation (now part of the Texas A&M University System). For more information about BOKA Powell’s projects and people, visit http://www.bokapowell.com.

About Quimby McCoy Preservation Architecture:
Quimby McCoy Preservation Architecture, LLP is providing preservation consulting for this historic project, with assistance by Susan Kline of Fort Worth. http://www.quimbymccoy.com/

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April Nichols
@bokapowell
since: 02/2010
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