For Southside residents, Evans and Rosedale project yet another uncertaintydfwnewsa | February 8, 2024 | 0 | Fort Worth , Fort Worth News
Historic Southside residents attend a community update on the long-awaited Evans and Rosedale redevelopment project on Feb. 7 at the Ella Mae Shamblee Fort Worth Public Library after the city canceled its contract with the previous project developer. (Sandra Sadek | Fort Worth Report)
” data-medium-file=”https://fortworthreport.org/wp-content/uploads/2024/02/EVRO-Meeting_Sadek.jpg?fit=300%2C169&quality=89&ssl=1″ data-large-file=”https://fortworthreport.org/wp-content/uploads/2024/02/EVRO-Meeting_Sadek.jpg?fit=780%2C439&quality=89&ssl=1″>
In the upstairs conference room at the Ella Mae Shamblee Fort Worth Public Library in the Historic Southside, both old and young residents of the area made themselves clear to city officials.
Their message: Take more accountability when it comes to getting the Evans and Rosedale project off the ground.
“Can we have a little bit of acknowledgment of mistakes that were made and how do we avoid that happening again, because there were red flags along the way. Many of us tried to say, ‘Hey, it don’t look like this is going to work,’ because we’ve been down this road before,” said Wallace Bridges, a Fort Worth ISD trustee.
The meeting, held Feb. 7 — just two months after the city announced Hoque Global would no longer be the main developer for the Evans and Rosedale project — offered residents an update.
The city plans to issue a new Request for Expressions of Interest, or RFEI, by Feb. 20 to find a new master developer. Robert Sturns, who heads economic development for the city, said staff will focus on finding a developer who has the financial capacity to fund a project of this scale and can demonstrate a track record of completing projects.
Timeline of the Evans and Rosedale Urban Village redevelopment
Late ’90s: City of Fort Worth begins acquiring parcels in the area.
2002: City issues the first Request for Proposals for Evans and Rosedale. No submissions were received.
2006: A second RFP is issued, but the 2008 economic downturn halts plans. During that time, smaller commercial projects were proposed but none came to fruition. Larger development projects came in but did not meet the needs of the residents.
2018-2019: City hosts Requests for Expressions of Interest community workshops and eventually issues its first RFEI for a master developer to explore the possibilities of that site.
April 2021: City and Hoque Global enter into a contract to redevelop Evans and Rosedale.
December 2023: City terminates contract with Hoque Global after failure to meet deadlines despite several extensions.
Feb. 7, 2024: City hosts neighborhood community meeting and begins collecting survey responses.
Feb. 20, 2024: City to issue new RFEI for Evans and Rosedale.
March, 12, 2024: Responses to city-issued RFEI due. Responses will be reviewed by staff and a selection committee.
April 2024: City to announce recommendation for new master developer.
April/May 2024: City to host series of community engagement meetings with the new developer.
May/June 2024: Approval from City Council and other boards on final proposal.
September 2024: Final agreements signed.
December 2024: Financial guarantee on project and land closure.
Future dates subject to change. Source: City of Fort Worth
Sturns told residents the city is aiming for a 2025 groundbreaking.
“We don’t want to be here in 2025, still having this same conversation about why we don’t have development happening on this site,” Sturns said.
Despite the city’s optimistic outlook on the situation, some residents said they still feel wary.
The timeline moving forward is too fast for a project that still has a lot of things up in the air, said Walter Williams, who grew up in the Evans and Rosedale area and now owns a couple properties there.
“That just sounds like another recipe for not including the community in a meaningful way,” Williams said. “I don’t doubt something will happen. The question is, is what’s going to happen be desirable for the community and the best that it could be?”
Sturns explained that the aggressive timeline is in part due to some of the federal American Rescue Plan Act dollars attached to the project. Those funds have to be spent by 2026.
“But at the end of the day, we want to make sure we get this right,” Sturns said.
The original proposal by Dallas-based developer Hoque Global to redevelop the area was canceled in December 2023 after the company failed to meet deadlines set by the city despite receiving three extensions.
The company struggled to attract minority and women-owned subcontractors to join the project as required in the economic incentive deal Hoque Global received from the city, according to previous Fort Worth Report reporting.
Hoque Global planned to construct a $70 million mixed-use, walkable urban development at Evans and Rosedale in exchange for $19.7 million in land, grants and payments from the Southside Tax Increment Financing District.
Most recently, the much-anticipated National Juneteenth Museum has been touted as a potential anchor in the neighborhood and as a significant part of the greater redevelopment of Evans and Rosedale.
Geraldine Williams, better known as Miss Jherre, speaks at the community meeting on the Evans and Rosedale redevelopment project at the Ella Mae Shamblee Fort Worth Public Library, Feb. 7. (Sandra Sadek | Fort Worth Report)
Plans to redevelop the Historic Southside have been in the works for two decades but have yet to bring about any changes to the area.
Geraldine Williams, better known as Miss Jherre, has been involved with discussions to redevelop the area since at least 2002.
“We’ve been at this part of (this conversation) for over a year and a half,” she said. “And it is like we were going up and now all of a sudden, things just started falling apart. … It is truly ridiculous.”
Toward the end of the meeting, Mayor Mattie Parker assured community members that this project will happen and said the city is committed to providing staff with the resources they need to make the project “catalytic.”
“The city does need to apologize,” Parker said. “The timeline, while aggressive, and while may cause some pause, I think you need to hold us to that. At the same time, demanding that your wishes and vision are the plan.”
The city is currently collecting community feedback to include in the new RFEI that will be given to potential developers. The deadline to submit comments is Feb. 15 at 11:59 p.m. You can fill out the survey here.
The survey results, including the ones completed in 2018, will help inform the selection committee when picking out a new developer.
As for the local residents, they will have to wait a bit longer to see the change they have long been waiting for.
“Why does it appear so easy to develop everywhere in town but here?” Williams asked. “It’s baffling. But we got a community here that’s willing to work.”
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.
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 @ssadek19.