The Stockyards Re-Development in Fort Worth, TX

  • Period: to

    Beginning of "Cowtown"

    Due to a treaty signed in 1843 between Native Americans and Texas, Ft. Worth became a divider - everything east was settled; everything west was native territory. Today's Stockyards was originally a place for cowboys to stop and let their herds graze. Ft. Worth was the last stop before crossing into hostile territory. Between 1866 and 1890, drovers trailed over 4 million head of cattle through Fort Worth, earning it the name “Cowtown.” Source:
  • Railroad Arrives in Fort Worth

    Fort Worth became a major shipping point for livestock, so the city built the Union Stockyards, two and a half miles north of the Tarrant County Courthouse, in 1887. Source:
  • Fort Worth Stockyards Company Established

    Capitalist Greenleif Simpson bought the Union Stockyards as an investment and changed the name to the Fort Worth Stockyards Co. Simpson invited other investors to join him, including Louville V. Niles, whose primary business was meatpacking. The investors began working to attract major packers to Fort Worth, and by about 1900, they had persuaded both Armour & Co. and Swift & Co. to build plants nearby. Source:
  • Construction Begins for Armour and Swift & Co.

    Construction Begins for Armour and Swift & Co.
    The businessmen planned construction – by coin toss. Armour and Swift held a coin toss to decide who would get which tract of land. Armour won the toss and chose the northern site; construction began in 1902. However, Swift & Co. ended up getting the better end of the bargain with the southern site, which contained a large gravel pit that they used for the construction of their plant. They even sold some of the gravel to Armour. Source:
  • The Wall Street of the West Begins

    The Wall Street of the West Begins
    Construction started on the pens, the barns, and the new Livestock Exchange Building, which housed the many livestock commission companies, telegraph offices, railroad offices and other support businesses. It became known as “The Wall Street of the West.” Source:
  • Cowtown Coliseum Completed

    Cowtown Coliseum Completed
    The success of the Stockyards meant the area needed an indoor show facility. In 1907, construction began on a grand coliseum – now known as the Cowtown Coliseum – that was completed in just 88 working days, in time for the grand opening of the Feeders & Breeders Show. The Coliseum became the home of the first indoor rodeo. Source:
  • The Richest Little City in the World

    The Richest Little City in the World
    The Stockyards and packinghouse properties became so affluent that they gave birth to their own little town – Niles City – in 1911. Known as “the richest little city in the world,” Niles City had a property value of $30 million. Source:
  • Niles City Annexed into Fort Worth

    Niles City was annexed as a part of Fort Worth. Source:
  • The Peak and Decline

    The Peak and Decline
    The Stockyards prospered through droughts and floods – they were even rebuilt with new flame-resistant materials after 2 disastrous fires killed a large number of livestock – but the booming business couldn’t last forever. During WWII, the Fort Worth Stockyards processed 5,277,496 head of livestock, making 1944 the peak year of the entire operation. Unfortunately, the decline of the Stockyards soon began with the decline of the railroad. Source:
  • Trucking Industry Intrudes on Market

    After WWII, the trucking industry rose, with lower costs and greater flexibility than railroads. Smaller local livestock auctions and feedlots started drawing business away from central locations like the Stockyards. It was a whole new way to market livestock. Both Armour and Swift had huge, outdated plants that now contended with risings costs, wages and administrative expenses. Armour closed his plant in 1962. Source:
  • Swift Meatpacking Closes

    Armour’s unique office building was demolished, but the classic Swift headquarters building lived on, first as the home of the old Spaghetti Warehouse, a popular restaurant during the 1970s, and now as corporate offices for XTO Energy. Source:
  • North Fort Worth Historical Society Formed

    In 1976, Charlie and Sue McCafferty founded the North Fort Worth Historical Society to preserve Fort Worth's livestock heritage. This new venture helped establish the Fort Worth Stockyards National Historical District and bring about the restoration of landmarks including the Livestock Exchange Building, the Coliseum and the former Swift & Co. headquarters. Source:
  • All-Time Low Sales

    Stockyards sales reached an all-time low of 57,181 animals. Source:
  • Hickman Invests in Revitalization

    Hickman, Murrin & Don Jury formed a partnership to reopen Billy Bob’s. Mr. Hickman, with various partners, began acquiring property after property. Among them were the Livestock Exchange Building and Stockyards Station. He also built what became the 101-room Hyatt Place Stockyards Hotel on Exchange Avenue. In all, the Hickman family owns about 80 acres in the 125-acre historical district and more in partnerships. Source:
  • Stockyards Museum Opens

    The North Fort Worth Historical Society opened the Stockyards Museum in the historic Exchange Building. Today, the museum hosts thousands of visitors from all over the world each year, and is constantly growing its facilities and its collection. Source:
  • Incentive Approved for Majestic-Hickman

    Incentive Approved for Majestic-Hickman
    June 2014
    Majestic Realty and the Hickmans were given an economic development grant from City Council. This 25 year Economic Development Incentive consists of the Developer receiving up to 40% of the taxes on the incremental real and business personal property on the new investment and up to 80% of the City’s $0.01 sales tax revenue with an overall cap based on the level/phase of investment achieved. Sources:
  • Fort Worth Heritage Development Formed

    The Hickman family, longtime investors and owners of a large portion of the city’s Historic Stockyards in north Fort Worth, partners with Majestic Realty Co. of California to form Fort Worth Heritage Agreement, LLC (developer). Sources:
  • Proposed 380 Development Agreement

    Jay Chapa (Housing and Economic Development Department) presented the Fort Worth Stockyards Heritage Plan to City Council. This presentation included existing conditions, goals, mission, and the phasing schedule for the project. Source:
  • Stockyards Zoning Changed Temporarily

    July 2014
    Initially, the area didn’t have many development regulations. The Stockyards east of North Main Street was zoned “‘K’ heavy industrial,” while the west side had “MU-2 high-intensity mixed-use” zoning. Hoping to better define what can and cannot be built in the Stockyards, the city council voted to put interim zoning on the area, designating most of the Stockyards east of North Main Street as “PD/MU-2” zoning as opposed to “‘K’ heavy industrial.” Source:
  • Historic Design District Task Force Appointed

    Historic Design District Task Force Appointed
    October 2014
    The city council put together a team of Stockyards property owners, city officials and other stakeholders to write standards & guidelines for redevelopment. These would regulate building heights, signage, building setbacks and other aspects of design. The document would cover not just the Majestic-Hickman project, but also other new developments in the surrounding areas of the Stockyards. The area would become the “design overlay district.” Source:
  • Mule Barn Renovation Approved

    October 2015
    The Majestic-Hickman project continued to move forward as the Historic and Cultural Landmarks Commission approved a project to renovate the horse and mule barns on East Exchange Avenue. Plans for this renovation include turning some spaces into storefront retail space. Source:
  • Draft of Design Overlay Finalized

    September 2015
    The Historic Stockyards Design District task force held public meetings for almost a year before coming up with the final draft of the design overlay district standards and guidelines. The document would need to be reviewed by the Urban Design Commission and Zoning Commission before receiving a final vote of approval from the city council. Source:
  • Historic District Vision Briefing

    Historic District Vision Briefing
    Nov. 2015
    The proposed historic district roughly is bounded by a portion of Houston Street (west), part of Stockyards Boulevard (north), Niles City Boulevard (east) and 23rd Street (south). Pleased with the proposed boundaries, the city council voted to kick off a public hearing process in which the district would pass through the Historic & Cultural Landmarks Commission and Zoning Commission before coming back to the city council for final approval. Source:
  • Developers Release Master Plan

    Developers want to transform the neglected historic Mule Barns in the Fort Worth Stockyards into 180,000 square feet of restaurant, shopping and office space as part of a master plan that also proposes outdoor festival and event areas. Source:
  • Design Overlay Approved by Urban Design Comission

    December 2015-January 2016
    The Urban Design Commission and Zoning Commission held public hearings on the design overlay document and voted to approve it, with some wording changes. The changes turned some of the design guidelines into design standards – in other words, some design elements became requirements rather than suggestions. Source:
  • Development Reawakens a Preservationist Spirit

    Development Reawakens a Preservationist Spirit
    Many business owners and neighbors welcomed the investment from Majestic Realty to refurbish several properties in The Stockyards, but there were some debates about the developers' 23 demolition permits. Public hearings on the proposed historic district began. The entire process was ongoing until September 2016, but the debates about development and historic overlays had been ongoing for a year and a half. Source:
  • Historic District Boundaries Expanded

    After hearing public comments, the Landmarks Commission met to draw an expanded district boundary with the help of the nonprofit historic preservation group Historic Fort Worth Inc. The expanded district covers roughly the same area as the city council’s district, but includes more of 23rd Street and the area east of Niles City Boulevard. The expanded boundaries include the former Swift and Co. property and Armour and Co. property in the district. Source:
  • City Council Approves Final Design Overlay

    Although the Urban Design Commission and Zoning Commission made some changes to the design overlay document, the city council decided against the proposed changes and to stick with the original document drafted by the Historic Stockyards Design District Task Force. The design overlay was enforced about a week after the vote. Source:
  • Expanded Historic District Approved

    The Historic and Cultural Landmarks Commission had two versions of the historic district to consider: a smaller district backed by the city council and a larger district drawn by Historic Fort Worth Inc. and the Landmarks Commission members themselves. The commission voted in for the larger district and recommended that the city council do the same. Source:
  • Mule Barn Gets Highest Historic Designation

    The city council voted March 1 to designate the east mule barn at 124 East Exchange Ave. as “highly significant and endangered” (HSE), meaning the building will receive the highest level of protection and tax incentives. The west mule barn is already designated as HSE. Source:
  • Zoning Commission Approves Expanded Historic District Boundary

    The Zoning Commission voted similarly to the Landmarks Commission. Although both commissions recommend that the city council approve the larger boundary, the final decision is up to the council. Council members could still vote for the smaller district they originally proposed. Source:
  • Consultant Finalized for Form-Based Code and Historic Guidelines

    City Council chose a consultant to create standards and guidelines for form-based code and historic district. Code Studio, a design and coding firm from Austin, was hired to be in charge of writing the standards and guidelines for the form-based code and historic district. After the city council approves the historic district, the firm will work with the city and Fort Worth residents to write the document in the coming months. Source:
  • Final Public Hearing for Historic District

    The City Council held the final public hearing and voted on the historic district. After this vote, the historic district was finalized. Source:
  • Work in Progress Presentation & Public Engagement

    Work in Progress Presentation & Public Engagement
    81 Club at Billy Bob’s Texas hosted the Work-in Progress presentation where members of the general public gathered to hear the results of the charrette. The presentation recapped the public input process, discussed the market analysis, and presented drawings and maps of future zoning concepts. After the presentation, attendees could view area maps, study drawings and talk with the consultant team. Source:
  • Demolition Work Begins

    Demolition Work Begins
    FW Heritage Development started the task of removing crumbling, decades-old structures, including a hay barn & scale house behind the Exchange Building on E. Exchange Ave. In August, workers demolished a utility room, and a portion of the cattle run north of E. Exchange Ave. In September, developers razed a dozen buildings on the former Swift & Co. meatpacking property, east of Niles City Boulevard. Source:
  • Phase I Includes 2018-2019

    Phase I Includes 2018-2019
    • 180,000 SF of redeveloped historic Horse & Mule Barns,
    including experiential retail and food & beverage, as well as creative office space • Extensive upgrades to the public realm, existing areas, streetscape, outdoor experiences • 200-room, 4-star boutique hotel with iconic signature restaurant, rustically stunning “backyard” leading out to Marine Creek • More than $120M investment in Phase 1 Source:
  • Construction Begins for Springhill Suites

    Construction Begins for Springhill Suites
    January 2018 Work is underway on a planned 170-room, six-story Springhill Suites hotel in the Fort Worth Stockyards. The hotel at North Main & 23rd replaces a red-brick trapezoid building known as “the wedge” that formerly housed Wells Fargo bank but was demolished last year. Source: