WOLFFORTH, Texas – After years of rumors, the possibility of a “Trader Joe’s” being built in Wolfforth had a chance of moving closer to becoming a reality, but it was all dependent on the decisions made at the Wolfforth City Council meeting Monday night. In the end, the council decided to table the motion for now, so the project has not yet been denied.

Larson Development Group is behind the $75 million project called “The Element at Wolfforth.” The group has been working on the project since 2021 and is hoping to use the land for mostly residential purposes with a luxury apartment complex, but also have a commercial aspect where retailers, like “Trader Joe’s,” could set up shop.

“This property has been sitting there pretty idle for the last 14 years since it was developed,” said Derek Balzano, vice president of Larson Development Group. “We chose Wolfforth just because of the growth and the expansion. We just felt like this was a positive area for us to go into to develop our high-end luxury apartment complex.”

Recently, the Larson Development Group acquired 29.93 acres of land along the Highway 62/82 access road in Wolfforth.

Overall Site Plan for The Element at Wolfforth. Courtesy: The Larson Development Group.

“We thought it was perfect because it had the city streets and sewer that was already established, so it worked out really well for our project,” Balzano said. 

In April, the project was turned down by the Wolfforth Planning and Zoning Commission. 

“I think in general, the Planning and Zoning Commission didn’t feel like this was a location that they believed was the best for a development of this of this type,” said Randy Criswell, city manager of Wolfforth.

The Larson Group appealed and presented to the City Council on Monday. The main hurdle for the developers has been getting the zoning changed from commercial to mixed-use.

“The retail can be built there without any change of any kind,” Criswell said. “The conditional use permit is required because of the residential component of the development.”

Balzano said the proposed project includes 244 high-end apartments as well as commercial development with space for 18 retailers, one of which the Larson Development Group is hoping to be “Trader Joe’s.”

“Trader Joe’s came up quite a few times, so we reached out to them and they were interested, but, we have to get beyond all these Planning and Zoning and actually get building to be able to really entice them to take a more serious look.” 

After an hour-long meeting at Wolfforth City Hall Monday night, the City Council did not vote.

“Land use decisions are so long term, generally speaking, they’re permanent,” Criswell said. “For that reason, some land use decisions may be easier and quicker decisions than others.”

Criswell and Wolfforth Mayor Charles Addington have asked for more time to meet with Balzano and his team of developers before the City Council makes a final decision about the proposed development in the near future.