By: Malcolm Mayhew
| by Linda Blackwell Simmons |
Imagine the hustle and bustle of Fort Worth’s South Main Street back in the early to mid-part of last century — when Blue Front Café served the hungry, Bob’s Main Bar quenched the thirsty, South Main Hotel accommodated the traveler, Lackey’s Pharmacy filled prescriptions, and Pearl’s Beauty Shop coiffured hair. South Main was vibrant with shoppers and shopkeepers. “It was also an upper-middle-class residential district occupied by the homes of people like George Monnig, of Monnig’s Department Store,” says Richard Selcer, Fort Worth historian. Then something happened. Main Street ceased to be a destination — the “mall” became popular, big stores sprouted, and more people started driving. South Main, along with many other main streets across the country, went into decline.
Due to the vision of Fort Worth’s Near Southside, Inc., and a number of other collaborators, that’s all changing. South Main is returning to life with a myriad of businesses whose services and wares will complement each other — and all will bring a touch of local flavor. “Near Southside, Inc. initiated the South Main Street effort nearly a decade ago, working in cooperation with business owners and the city. We can’t wait for the street to come back to life, one that preserves the treasured historic buildings in South Main Village and serves as a catalyst for additions in the future,” says Mike Brennan of Near Southside, Inc.
Jason Eggenburger and Steven Halliday of 97w Architects are designing four properties between Vickery and Rosedale. “Steve and I are both Near Southside residents. Our desire is to help shape the character of the place where we live, work and play.”
Highlights of what’s coming in order from north to south:
SoMa Development: W. A. (Andy) Powers moved his material-handling business to South Main in January 1939. His nephew, Doyle, and his brother, Jack, inherited the business in the late 1980s. Lori Henderson, Doyle Powers’ daughter, says, “It’s been awesome to see this neighborhood come back to life. Our plans are to develop the block between South Main, Vickery, Daggett and Bryan. Phase one includes four to five restaurant/retail spaces with a public plaza. We anticipate leasing by the end of this year.” Powers’ other daughter, Kim, and her husband will carry on the conveyor business in the warehouse on Bryan and Daggett avenues.
Tinie’s Mexican Rotisserie and Cocktail Lounge: Owners of Taco Heads, Sarah Castillo and Jacob Watson, will open a new concept in 2,000 - 3,000 square feet of the SoMa development. The first floor will offer family-style Mexican rotisserie and sides.
The second floor will house “El Escondite” (Spanish for “the hideaway”)with craft cocktails, Latin American beers, and 60 different tequilas and mezcal from the lounge. Business partner Glen Keely (owner of Thompson's Bookstore) will assist with design. “The interior will transport you to an Oaxacan mezcaleria with a rooftop oasis to escape the concrete jungle,” said Keely. Tinie's is expected to open January 2018.
Crouch Building: Kelly Capital Partners (KCP) purchased the Crouch building at 305 S. Main St. and 318 Bryan Ave. The four buildings will provide over 40,000 square feet of office, retail and restaurant opportunities. Red Productions will be its anchor tenant, and KCP is currently negotiating with two restaurant groups.
Red Productions: Currently based near West Seventh Street, Red Productions is a high-quality video production firm that opened its doors in 2005. Red Sanders, president and producer, says, “Partnering with Craig Kelly [KCP] on this mixed-use development is a great fit for us, and we’re thrilled to bring this space to Near Southside. The 10,000-square-foot production facility will feature a studio that will be open to all for rental, be it a commercial, photo shoot, or special event.” The West Seventh studio will close when the South Main location opens.
The 4 Eleven: Co-owner and designer of Brewed Restaurant, Jana Clark, is targeting October for the opening of The 4 Eleven. Clark partnered with 6th Ave Homes and several other investors on the restoration of the building. A shared patio will encourage a connection among the businesses, where shoppers can share a drink, pick up flowers, and enjoy a visual feast of unique retail stores, including Clark's Limited Time Offer (LTO), a furniture and design store. “We believe all of life is a limited time offer. Every piece, just like every person, has a story to tell.” Clark worked 15 years as a buyer for Neiman Marcus so she is well prepared for this new opportunity. “I can't wait to work with the amazing people at The 4 Eleven. We are better together, and this is so much more than a store, this is an experience.”
In addition to LTO, The 4 Eleven includes a wedding and event venue with its own garden patio, which Clark calls the “crown jewel” of the 18,000-square-foot property. Bookings are already in motion for holiday parties. At the back of LTO, as evening approaches, doors will open to a restaurant and bar, name unknown at this time.
These four businesses will front LTO:
1. An Acai Bowl/Smoothie Store: The store will serve organic drinks and bowls topped with fresh fruit and toppings.
2. Alchemy Pops: A brick-and-mortar location for a handmade popsicle cart that serves pops at Sundance Square and various events.
3. The Greenhouse 817: A popular botanical design studio that creates unique flower arrangements with succulents and unexpected flora.
4. Winton and Waits: An upscale store by designer Jenna Lee. A portion of proceeds go to several nonprofits, including the Edna Gladney Home and The Net, both in Fort Worth.
Locust Cider: A West Coast concept that makes blends of apple cider. Targeted to open in 2018, it will be part of 17,500 square feet of other retail, restaurant, and office space.
Four Sisters: An Asian fusion restaurant will open in one of two new buildings that Dak Hatfield of Hatfield Properties has under construction in the 1000 block of South Main. There is also space for a second restaurant and second-floor offices.
Taste: As reported in the June issue of Fort Worth Magazine, Taste will open at 1200 S. Main St. on August 22. Taste will be a pay-what-you-can restaurant from nonprofit The Taste Project, aimed at fighting food insecurity. Diners can grab a meal from seasonal, locally grown ingredients and are encouraged to either pay what they can afford, pay what they would normally pay, or pay a little extra. Dallas-based Coeval Studio, the same team behind Americado off of Berry Street, is designing the space.
Vintage streetlights are in, art sculptures and trees are coming, curbside parking and bike lanes are waiting, and doors will soon be opening as history continues to be made by these new ventures.
By: Malcolm Mayhew