Stacy Marshall has had a lot to navigate since he became executive director in 2015 of Southeast Fort Worth Inc., the economic development organization responsible for helping revitalize the largely raw southeast side of the city, attracting industrial, commercial and retail business.
Marshall, former chief executive of the Lancaster Chamber of Commerce, diversified the organization’s board, taking it to 17 members from six and bringing in executives and other leaders from business and the community. He established an executive committee led by a chairman John Dewar of Freese and Nichols.
Southeast Fort Worth Inc. has also bumped up its budget since Marshall’s arrival, going to $236,000 in 2017 from $125,000. Marshall has put the money into more outreach, part-time staff, and marketing. The organization also relaunched its website.
Marshall’s set out to present Southeast Fort Worth Inc. as an entry point to the city for business interested in locating in the southeast quadrant, where disputes over development are common.
“I’m an advocate to bring people on board before we’re too far down the road,” Marshall said in an interview. “I don’t want people to be shocked by anything. I’m very transparent. I love for everybody to know what is going on.”
Marshall typically helps move business development proposals through the city and neighborhood organizations. “It’s everybody sitting at the same table, having a conversation,” he says. Marshall estimates Southeast Fort Worth has 14 neighborhood organizations “that are passionate. There are six that command that I answer their calls, come to their meetings.”
Some proposals have met a quick demise, such as one to put a distillery into the historic Grand Theater off of East Rosedale Avenue in the Evans-Rosedale corridor. “That was a no-go,” Marshall says. “You have two churches [nearby] right next to each other.”
Other proposals have longer runway, such as a current development proposal to put a public cinema in the old Pinkston Mortuary in the Evans-Rosedale district, on the east side of Interstate 35 West and viewed by city and business leaders as a potential extension of the Near Southside.
Marshall’s also assisting the city in its planned request for proposal and expressions of interest for a master developer to come up with a plan for a number of vacant lots the city owns in the Evans-Rosedale district. A developer has proposed a plan for a limited service hotel at Interstate 35 West and East Rosedale Street, but city leaders aren’t sure that’s the right use.
Marshall would like to see more city funding for street improvements and greater incentives for development.
One of Marshall’s goals for Southeast Fort Worth: two grocery stores, one in the city’s District 8, comprising neighborhoods like Poly and Morningside; and one in District 5, the home of Stop Six. He visited South Dallas’ Bishop Arts District. “They suggested a small grocery store inside a shopping center,” he says.