Fort Worth, Texas – Drawing inspiration from its resplendent past, the once-thriving Fort Worth Public Market on Henderson Street, a stone’s throw southwest from downtown, is poised to resuscitate its long-dormant vibrancy. This architectural gem, engraved into the city’s history in 1930, beckoned to a myriad of visitors from across the region, casting an enchanting spell of allure and attraction.
However, its promising inception was abruptly undermined by the vice-like grip of the Great Depression, which orchestrated an acute economic downfall that left the once-thriving market nearly desolate. For many ensuing years, the shadow of the demolition hammer loomed over the edifice, ominously threatening to erase its historical existence.
Nevertheless, this iconic Spanish Colonial Revival-style building has weathered the storm and now proudly resides on the National Register of Historic Places, albeit its boarded-up windows bear the scars of time’s ruthless decay.
Fort Worth-based firm plans to bring the Fort Worth Public Market building into life – what’s the project?
This enduring structure stands at the cusp of a new dawn, thanks to Fort Worth’s Wilks Development.
“We really desire to have that sense of community when you walk in you’re going to get the history of it,” said Kyle Wilks, President and CEO of Wilks Development. “You’re going to see the historic relevance of it but bring it into today’s time and usefulness.”
Wilks Development is slated to infuse $58 million into this ambitious renovation project, which will transform the erstwhile structure into a vibrant hub housing a panoply of boutiques and cafes.
“We’re going to keep its name as the Public Market and this is going to be a place for community so you can go in and grab a coffee, grab a drink you can hang out with your friends,” Wilks said.
An exciting addition to the property’s revitalization will be a five-story senior living facility named The Harden, an homage to the original developer of the property.
“You can have this place with … different generations to come together, have discussions and sit down, talk,” Wilks said. “That’s our vision.”
This endeavor seeks to revitalize the Public Market as a cornerstone of the community, forging a connection between downtown and the Southside in Fort Worth. Nearly a century later, this magnificent structure is on the brink of discovering a new raison d’être.
“The day that will be the happiest is when we get these locks off these doors and open it up more,” said Wilks.
The plan also entails enhancing the aesthetic appeal of the Market’s exterior with the addition of green spaces, aimed at creating a seamless interplay between the diverse amenities. The project’s completion is projected to span two years, marking the dawn of a new epoch for the historic Fort Worth Public Market.