Construction on a new mixed-income housing complex in Fort Worth, named in honor of long-time activist and educator Opal Lee, began on Thursday, March 9.
Located in an open lot near Fort Worth’s Alliance Airport, next to a sister property, The Holson, The Opal, a 399-unit apartment complex is the sixth affordable housing property developed by Fort Worth Housing Solutions (FWHS) and AMTEX in the city.
At the groundbreaking ceremony on Thursday, the grandmother of Juneteenth, Opal Lee, was the keynote speaker and talked about her own experience with housing in Fort Worth.
“You ever live in a shotgun house?” she said (via NBCDFW.) “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’s location was chosen to be close to major employers in the area 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. It’s a great place for schools,” Mary-Margaret Lemons, president of Fort Worth Housing Solutions. “By having a mixed-income approach, we can serve those market-rate tenants as well as those that need an affordable or workforce unit.”
The complex is part of an effort to help alleviate the need of affordable housing in Fort Worth. According to CBSNews, to fulfill this goal half the units will be reserved for residents making less than 80% of the area’s median income (AMI), which currently sits at a little over $45,000 and 5% of the units will be reserved for households earning 50% or less of the AMI, close to $28,300 per year.
“I think the Opal is going to be, as the young people say, 'the bomb!' Oh, just think of the people who will have decent houses,” Lee said Thursday.