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FORTWORTH - Just as the economy started to tank three years ago, developers pushed ahead with West 7th Street projects in Fort Worth.

It might have seemed foolhardy, even with tax incentives. But, it's become a roaring success.

Just a few years ago, the area was mostly industrial, some of it blighted and there wasn't much more than Fred's Texas Cafe to draw a crowd. Fred's still brings the people, but concrete is crowding the old cafe itself. With its stick fence, the tiny beer and burger joint is nearly encased in multi-story development.

We are an oasis of reality, said Terry Chandler, the owner of Fred's.

Fred's is now surrounded by one of the hottest spots in Texas to work, play and live.

The nearby Lofts @ West 7th are full with a waiting list.

They showed up lined up out the door, said developer Kirk Williams, with Cypress Equities.

Williams said he wasn't sure tenants would come. Now, he is adding 96 more apartments with more stores and restaurants on the ground floor at the corner of Crockett and Currie.

Two blocks away just off Lancaster Avenue, bulldozers scrape away warehouses to make room for more than 300 new apartments. The developer, Lang Partners, expects them to immediately fill up when they open.

Although credit is still tight for such projects, money is cheap if the odds of success are high.

In today's time, this is very rare to bring this out, Williams said. But, also, there is a lot to be said for the dynamic place of Fort Worth, Texas.

West 7th has quickly become a European urban village, nestled between downtown, the cultural district and Trinity Park. The city says it has added millions in property value and sales taxes.

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