FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) — The first restaurant in a massive redevelopment project in the Fort Worth Stockyards opened Sunday.
Popular burger chain Shake Shack is the first tenant in the new Mule Alley complex. Developers completely transformed 200,000 square feet of historic horse and mule barns into restaurant, retail and entertainment space.
At the end of Mule Alley, a new 200-room boutique hotel will anchor the project. It’s expected to open this fall.
“Now that the big development is coming, I’m excited,” said Keller resident Derek Anthony. “As long as the architecture and the experience is the same, then I think people will embrace it.”
However, some people worry the $175 million project will make the Stockyards feel too commercial.
“I think part of the draw to come here was like, ‘Oh, we’ll see old-time Texas, the Old West.’ So if it gets too fancy of businesses and shops, it might take a little bit away from that,” said Shannon Collins, who was visiting the Stockyards from Michigan.
The developer has pledged to keep the original flavor of the old west. It’s what draws an estimated three million visitors a year to the Stockyards.
“It’s character,” said Mesquite resident George Rodriguez. “It’s culture. This is what Texas is. This is Texas.”
The development group that has been redoing Mule Alley will also start managing the Stockyards’ Cowtown Coliseum this spring. The Fort Worth City Council approved the contract last month.
The company plans to bring new types of entertainment to the venue, which historically hosts a rode every Friday and Saturday night.