by Sarah J.F. Braley | August 10, 2018
Sections of the historic Stockyards district in Fort Worth, Texas, are getting a makeover through the Stockyards Heritage Development Co., a partnership between Majestic Realty Co. and the Hickman Cos.
 
The area's Horse and Mule Barns will be renovated; improvements will be made to to the Stockyards' Exchange Avenue; and an Autograph Collection hotel, event barn and rustic resort called the Hotel Drover will be built at the end of Mule Alley's planned street of shops, eateries, offices and live-entertainment venues. Ground has been broken on the first phase of the $175 million project.
 
"The Stockyards present a unique challenge, but also a rare opportunity," said Craig Cavileer, executive vice president of Majestic as well as the Stockyards Heritage Development Co. "We knew from the moment we first visited the district over 20 years ago that this was a rare gem -- a place people from all over the world visit for a taste of Texas and the West. Not just the animals and the buildings, although they're a huge part of it, but the freedom, spirit and character of the cowboys, cowgirls and cattle culture that shaped Texas into what it is today. That's a tall order as a developer, but also an inspirational one. We have never taken it lightly."
 
The new hotel, which will open in spring 2020, will feature 200 rooms, 15,000 square feet of meeting space and an elegant barn for weddings, meetings and social events. Its signature restaurant will be the 97 West Kitchen and Bar, featuring regional cuisine and décor reminiscent of the ranch houses that inspired it. That ranch feel will extend to the front courtyard, with its rustic fountain and seating under the trees, as well as the lobby, with its views of the backyard and its library and fireplace. The backyard will offer fire pits, a pool area and paths to Marine Creek.
 
Mule Alley will become home to some of the best restaurateurs, merchants, artisans and entrepreneurs found in Texas, according to the developers. "We are taking our time, making sure new residents of Mule Alley fit the character of the Stockyards, and we're encouraging our leasing team to think creatively about the mix", states Cavileer. "We would rather take a risk with an inventive tenant than play it safe with a chain that brings little to the table. We're not looking to overly commercialize the Stockyards, we're looking to make it even more exciting and broaden its appeal for locals as well as guests from Texas, the U.S. and around the world."
 
So far, confirmed tenants include Second Rodeo Brewing Co. from chef Jason Boso, known for the Truck Yard in Dallas and Houston, and Twisted Root restaurants throughout the Metroplex. Second Rodeo will be a "brewpub meets live-music hall" concept, brewing suds on-site, serving a creative street taco menu and featuring live music in Boso's 12,000-square-foot barn. A new restaurant from chef Marcus Paslay, executive chef and owner of Fort Worth's Clay Pigeon and Piattello Italian Kitchen, also will take up residence. His new eatery will focus on grilled and smoked meats. Among others announced for the alley are a Shake Shack burger restaurant and MB Mercantile & Supply's one-of-a-kind emporium of goods from artisans across Texas.