The Fort Worth City Council got a better idea of what the renovated horse and mule barns will look like Tuesday as Majestic Realty presented plans for the first phase of its Fort Worth Stockyards redevelopment project.
Majestic, a developer based in California, and the Hickman family of Fort Worth – collectively known as Fort Worth Heritage Development – plan a development over 70 acres of the Stockyards. The horse and mule barns, located at 122-124 East Exchange Avenue, will be the first structure to be renovated as part of the project. The horse and mule barn renovation costs an estimated $45 million.
Majestic is working with Fort Worth architect Bennett Benner Partners on the project. Along with structural improvements, the plans include turning portions of the barns into retail, restaurant and office space.
The parking area between the barns will become more walkable, and some of the parking will be removed to create space for trees and features like outdoor dining, said Michael Bennett, principal and CEO of Bennett Benner Partners.
Parking will be moved to the south, and a parking garage is planned for the area, Bennett said.
Majestic has hired design firm Kimley-Horn to do a traffic study on the area, and is also working with the city’s public events department to find ways to improve parking, said Kerby Smith, senior vice president of development at Majestic.
The project’s next step is to apply for building permits, then once permits are issued, construction will begin in “not more than a few months,” Bennett said.
City councilman Sal Espino said he was “impressed” by the development plans.
“It will be a product, something beautiful that makes all Fort Worthians and all who love the Stockyards proud,” he said.
The mule barn project will be governed by the design overlay that was put in place in February, Smith said.
His group, along with many other Stockyards stakeholders, is waiting for the city council to vote on the boundaries of the historic district. On April 5, the city council will have to choose one of two districts: a smaller one recommended by the council or a larger one recommended by the Historic and Cultural Landmarks Commission and nonprofit historic preservation group Historic Fort Worth, Inc.
Smith said about 30 percent of the Majestic-Hickman project falls under the smaller historic district boundary, which is the boundary he favors.
“More regulations, more oversight tends to push away private investment,” he said.
But Doug Harman, a former Fort Worth city manager who attended Majestic’s presentation, said he prefers the larger boundary.
“It looks like the boundary was put in the way it was, to allow Majestic to build to maximum degree that they could under that zoning, so there’s some big unknowns,” he said. “We’ve always been excited about seeing investment in the Stockyards. We just want the rules and regulations that will enforce a sensitive historic perspective.”