After a dozen years of failed attempts at redevelopment of the former MidTown home of Mercy Hospital, construction is beginning this week on the $36 million, 250-unit Edge apartments at NW 13 and Walker Avenue.
Developer Gary Brooks, speaking to dozens of civic leaders Wednesday at a groundbreaking, admitted it took three attempts by friend and mentor Mike Henderson to convince him to bid for the project.
He also admitted that at the time, his awareness of the area's emergence as a mixed-use urban neighborhood was so limited that when invited to visit Henderson at the trendy 1492 New World Cuisine, his response was “What is 1492?”
Brooks, set to infuse the largest investment yet in the neighborhood, is no longer confused about 1492 or other MidTown restaurants, shops and housing clusters.
Larry Nichols, chairman of the Urban Renewal Authority, reminded attendees that the site was long home to the blighted remains of Mercy Hospital until it was acquired and cleared by the city in 1998.
The first attempt at an apartment development by Nicholas Preftakes fell apart when Urban Renewal commissioners denied his request to acquire decades-old duplexes across the street that at the time were considered blighted — but since have been redeveloped into offices.
Chuck Wiggin was then selected by Urban Renewal in 2008 to build a $62 million, 109-unit Overholser Greens on the same site despite warnings that the project was not viable due to a declining condominium market nationwide. The project fell apart amid the credit crunch associated with the Great Recession that hit the following year.
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The Edge Team
Architect: GTF Design, Bedford, Texas
Civil Engineer: Cardinal Engineering
General Contractor: N.E. Construction, Lewisville, Texas
Financing: Crain Mortgage, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development