Fort Worth residents, city leaders, developers, supporters and the Grandmother of Juneteenth celebrated the official start of construction on The Opal, a 339-unit, luxury, mixed-income community off Westport Parkway in the thriving Alliance Corridor.
Renowned activist and educator Opal Lee, the namesake of the property, delivered the keynote address at the keynote address before than enthusiastic gathering. Ms. Opal shared stories of her experience in Fort Worth public housing, as well as her dream for The Opal.
“You ever live in a shotgun house?” she asked. “I have lived in some of that. I have lived in Butler Place, where it was decent housing compared to what I have lived in before. So I’m ecstatic they’re going to wonderful places to live, as well as work.”
The Opal is the sixth affordable housing property developed by Fort Worth Housing Solutions and AMTEX, and sits next door to The Holston, named in honor of former FWHS President Barbara Holston.
“As a sister property to The Holston, The Opal will also offer units for families of different sizes and makeups with access to quality schools and city services,” Fort Worth City Council member Leonard Firestone said. “This property will make a difference in District 7, just as similar projects developed with Fort Worth Housing Solutions and our dedicated partners have made across Fort Worth.”
Half of the units at The Opal will be offered at market rate, with the other half available to households earning 80 percent or less of the Area Median Income. The Opal will reserve 5 percent of the units for households earning 50 percent or less of AMI.
The Opal’s location is convenient to major employers in the Alliance Corridor, including McKesson Corp., UPS, Nestlé and the Facebook Data Center.
“Instead of having people travel up and down 35, they can live where they work,” FWHS President Mary-Margaret Lemons said. “It’s a great place for schools. By having a mixed-income approach, we can serve those market-rate tenants as well as those that need an affordable or workforce unit.”
Lemons, AMTEX President Arjun Nagarkatti and InterBank President & Chief Operating Officer C.K. Lee presented a donation of $3,000 to Ms. Opal for Citizens Concerned with Human Dignity.
“I had a chance to visit with her before we came up here today,” Lee said. “She said, ‘I want you to tell them it’s been my mission to become everyone’s grandmother.’ One of the great roles and responsibilities of grandmothers is to get people’s attention. You’ve gotten our attention, you’ve gotten out country’s attention and today we’re going to celebrate you.”
Construction for The Opal is expected to take about two years and open in spring 2025.
“I think The Opal is going to be, as the young people say, ‘the bomb!’” Ms. Opal said. “Oh, just think of the people who will have decent houses.”