By: Malcolm Mayhew
What once served as a pasta factory will soon become the production hub for at least three local businesses.
Real estate development group M2G Ventures is rehabbing the 42,000-square-foot O.B. Macaroni building, located at 108 South Freeway off Interstate 35. Three tenants – W Durable Goods, MELT Ice Creams and Craftwork Coffee Co. – are part of the project’s first phase, all using the building primarily for manufacturing, rather than retail.
Additionally, M2G Ventures is working to finalize a lease with a malt production company, M2G Ventures co-owner Jessica Miller Worman said.
Worman said her company plans to keep as many of the building’s original elements as possible, working with tenants on finish outs to make sure each space stays true to its history. The “O.B. Macaroni Co.” signage on the brick facade, for example, will stay on the building. Much of the pasta factory equipment, like a weighing scale and sifters, will also be kept as decorative elements for each tenant’s space.
Items from the original O.B. Macaroni pasta factory, such as these drawers marked with pasta names, will be saved as decorative elements.
One of those sifters (with the electricity turned off, of course) will be located in the office of W Durable Goods, which recently closed its Foch Street location and is building a production center in the O.B. Macaroni building. The front of the space will have a showroom, while the back will be used for manufacturing the store’s new and expanded selection of vintage hats and other objects, stationery and home décor products. The company is expected to move in sometime in the summer. Its products will continue to be sold online and in pop-up shops.
Then in the fall, MELT plans to move next door to W Durable Goods, building a production kitchen. According to MELT owner Kari Crowe-Seher, the ice cream shop has outgrown the kitchen at its Magnolia Avenue location. While the Magnolia location will remain open, the larger kitchen in the O.B. Macaroni building will allow MELT to increase production of its ice cream pints.
“We love the rich history the building holds – after all, a pasta factory that lasted 100 years in one place is bound to be good luck,” she said in a statement.
Craftwork Coffee Co. is already operating in the building, which serves as a roastery expected to produce an estimated 1,500 pounds of coffee per week for distribution.
Craftwork, W Durable Goods, MELT and the unnamed malt production company will all occupy the first floor of the building. The building has just one unoccupied space left, along with a 2,000-square-foot alley that may be used as additional production space or event space. M2G Ventures plans to eventually lease out the second and third floors.
A 2,000-square-foot alley may be used as additional production space or event space.
Worman said M2G Ventures tends to be choosy with its tenants, looking for companies that are “pushing the envelope” and “have a great story to tell.” Craftwork, W Durable Goods and MELT, she says, are prime examples.
And so is the O.B. Macaroni building.
“O.B. Macaroni was a place that already had a lot of soul behind it,” she said. “[There’s a] really interesting story to it. For us, we’re just really trying to expose it and bring it into its new era.”
The O.B. Macaroni building began as a stagecoach hotel, built around 1860. O.B. Macaroni moved in in 1905, called the Fort Worth Macaroni Company at the time until it changed its name in 1959. Late last year, the company moved out to a new facility at 3066 Southeast Loop 820.
M2G Ventures, owned by twin sisters Worman and Susan Miller Gruppi, is responsible for several properties around Fort Worth, including The Foundry District on Carroll Street, Thirteen Oh-Five on Magnolia Avenue, and The Crossing on Camp Bowie Boulevard, many of which are characterized by industrial designs and incorporation of art murals on the building walls.
With the O.B. Macaroni building, Worman says M2G Ventures plans to continue its tradition of incorporating art. The top of the building has four silos that were once used for storing grain, which tenants can use to add branded artwork (MELT, for example, will have “a giant ice cream cone-looking thing,” Worman said). An additional mural will be on an outside wall, but the details of the art have not yet been planned, Worman said.
Silos at the top of the building will be painted with each tenant's branding, similar to the example above.
Artist Katie Murray, known for her “Dreamer” murals found on many of M2G Ventures’ properties, will work with tenants on creating designs for the silos, although she may not necessarily paint all of them, Worman said.
According to a news release, M2G Ventures has acquired about $45 million of property since its founding in 2014. The company is also working with Majestic Realty for the renovation of the horse and mule barns in the Fort Worth Stockyards, planning future tenants for the 180,000-square-foot space.
By: Malcolm Mayhew