AUSTIN – One of the “ambassadors” who Visit Fort Worth recruited to greet visitors to the city’s two-day house at South by Southwest this weekend is Kyle Valley, a senior vice president for Majestic Realty who moved last year from California to Fort Worth to help in the company’s redevelopment of the Fort Worth Stockyards with Fort Worth’s Hickman family. Valley shared his impressions as a newcomer to Fort Worth. Then he gave as a quick update on the first phase of the redevelopment, which includes the 180,000-square-foot historic horse and mule barns that the partnership is redeveloping on East Exchange Avenue.
Horse and mule barns opening: It’s on schedule for the fourth quarter this year, Valley said. The two horse and mule barns are about 70 percent leased, he said. “The majority of the remaining space we’ve got letters of intent out,” or nearing agreement.
Surprises: “The really interesting component was how much office demand there is.” Simpli.fi, the fast-growing Fort Worth digital advertising firm, is taking 72,000 square feet of space and brining 400-450 employees. “We never saw that coming. That tenant completely changes the dynamic.” The American Paint Horse Association also is moving its offices into the redeveloped space, which will include a highly activated pedestrian and vehicle corridor – the refreshed Mule Alley - between the barns and perpendicular to East Exchange. The corridor will provide the main access to the Hotel Drover, another major component of the first phase of the redevelopment and due to open in 2020. Valley estimated the first phase will bring about 1,000 employees into the Stockyards.
Being choosy: “For every tenant we engage with, there are dozens who don’t fit the project.”