Simply put, it’s so damned exciting living in Fort Worth now. Growth is insane, lively development or redevelopment can be found in any direction one looks, and a lot of young, vigorous, and creative talent is steering much of it.
HGC Residential Development was born in 2000 and has flourished and grown in a period in which the population of Fort Worth has increased by 60 percent. We’ve had periods of dizzying growth and prosperity in North Texas before, but often it seems as if these were eras of loss and missed opportunities. Think: The 1980s and the damage done to older neighborhoods, particularly Highland Park and Oak Lawn, when many a proud, carefully conceived structure was leveled and replaced with modish, but generic building stock. Much of residential construction then strived for grandeur and a vaguely remembered past — and missed the mark.
HGC can go grand if needs be or if a client desires, but the difference in approach is the educated eye towards proportions and an informed command of architectural vocabulary. Below, dissect another stunning staircase like the HGC house on Bishop’s Flower we featured last week. In fact this post completes a triptych. It began two weeks ago with a classic listing in Park Hill and the subsequent search to find a new-build of comparable quality, and finally, this week leading me to the doors of HGC Residential Development.
Unlike so many builders, this firm is design driven. Say, doesn’t the throw-away detail of the suggested corbeled, arched opening of that pleasing enfilade above look familiar? We have in fact, come full circle. The design brain of the HGC trifecta, Karl Hahnfeld, grew up in Park Hill with an architect father. His brother now runs the eponymous Houston-based firm, so it’s in the blood. Hahnfeld says he continues to draw inspiration from the rich stock of 1920s-era houses in old Fort Worth.
The three principles of HGC each handle a different need. John Giordano manages the real estate end either by locating available property for spec building, or assisting clients with site location and acquisition. Karl Hahnfeld heads the design team, and Rob Cocanower manages the finances and keeps the LLC healthy and growing.
Rich, not gaudy … isn’t that Shakespeare? Well it’s also HGC. Look through their portfolio and observe a restrained but rich repertoire of materials. Hahnfeld’s approach to a project is very traditional as well. It begins with drawings. Floor plans are also drawn by hand. It ends with beautifully rendered, hand-colored elevations, which litter the offices.
“I would think that your clients would want to keep these,” I observe.
“Sometimes. I sort of get attached to them,” Hahnfeld said.
There are literally hundreds of them. In fact, by their own count, they estimate that they have built over 350 stand-alone houses as well as several multi-family projects.
HGC does do modern. And not just the one off. This house was on the 2016 Fort Worth AIA tour.
“I find modern design much more challenging,” Hahnfeld says. “It’s much more difficult getting it just right.”
And look out, Dallas. This house at 2417 Brendenwood Drive isn’t the first incursion by HGC. They have already built in Lakewood and the Park Cities. The Brendenwood property is currently on the market for $1.847 million and is being marketed by Giordano, Wegman, Walsh and Associates, part of Christies International and an HGC spin off.
Growth has required building additional office space for the construction division of the firm outside Montserrat at 4700 St. Amand Rd.
Eric Prokesh is an interior designer whose work has appeared on HGTV, and in books and publications including D Home, Southern Accents, House Beautiful, and House and Garden. In January 2005, HG named Eric one of the 50 tastemakers in America and D Home has included him as one of Dallas’ Best Designers for 10 years. Having lived most of his life in Dallas, he now calls Fort Worth home and is one of our experts on beautiful Fort Worth Dirt. His own home on historic Elizabeth Boulevard has been featured in 360 West.