There’s strength in numbers. Two, in this case, as developers Dak Hatfield and Ryan Dodson join in multiple projects in Fort Worth.
Developers Dak Hatfield and Ryan Dodson certainly keep up their part in ratcheting up redevelopment of Fort Worth’s booming Near Southside, teaming up on five combined projects in the 1,400-acre neighborhood just south of Interstate 30 downtown.
There’s some old and some new in their efforts – three old buildings on South Main Street and two new ones on West Magnolia Avenue.
On Main Street, it’s a refurbishing and restorative sequential dominos: 126 S. Main, 212 S. Main and 300 S. Main, those buildings dating as far back as 1920, collectively about 26,000 square feet.
At 1455 and 1465 W. Magnolia, it’s two new adjoining buildings, with about 18,000 square feet combined.
Though both Hatfield (Hatfield Advisors) and Dodson (Dodson Development) have their own individual developments, they’ve found that it often just makes sense to partner on projects, a synergistic blend of financial and creative resources.
“I’m from Arlington and attended OU in Norman, and he’s from Norman and went to TCU,” Dodson said. “So, we probably passed each other a few hundred times on the interstate. We finally met a few years ago through a mutual friend.”
The meeting was fortuitous. Hatfield, 44, and Dodson, 43, have since then been teaming up on projects (Shipping and Receiving on Calhoun Street in Fort Worth, Free Play Arcade on South Street in Arlington).
So far, so good.
Consider the two Magnolia buildings, which began as an empty lot originally visualized as a movie theater specializing in indie films.
“The property owners just couldn’t work out a solution for as much parking as they’d need, so we bought the empty lot,” Hatfield recalls. “We put up two new buildings on spec.”
They took what was considered a gamble on one of the buildings at the time – retail on the ground floor, condos on the second and third floors at a time when very few townhomes were being built in the area. The condos were not inexpensive, starting at $330,000 and elevating to more than $400,000.
It worked. An eclectic mix of half a dozen “micro” retail entities lease the lower level, and five of the six condos have been sold.
“Condos in the heart of Magnolia turned out to be a popular idea,” Dodson said. “Now there seem to be a lot of emulators.”
The condos are high-ceiling vintage style with modern amenities, it also being a plus that more than 20 restaurants and bars are less than a five-minute walk, plus there’s easy access to jobs at nearby hospitals and quick access to a city bus route.
The other Magnolia building is also at 100 percent occupancy, with popular restaurant Salsa Limón on the lower level (a USA Today review listed it as the best place in Fort Worth to munch a burrito) and a real estate company upstairs.
And the Main Street projects?
One of those, the bar/restaurant Bearded Lady (originally located on Magnolia, now at 300 S. Main), will formally open in mid-July with, owner Shannon Osbakken says, double its original capacity, patio dining and additional parking.
Before the move, Texas Monthly put the Bearded Lady’s burgers as among the top five in Texas. The menu will also unveil some surprises – a pigmento sandwich (pulled pork and a crafted pimento cheese) among others. Inside, check out the wall murals.
Hatfield and Dodson say they’re putting finishing touches on 126 S. Main – a 90-year-old building with about 6,000 square feet – and are talking to potential tenants now.
As for the larger 212 S. Main, that project is essentially a historical restoration with a longer timeline. It’ll be ready for tenants by year’s end.
“We want it to look and feel like the 1920 building it is,” Hatfield said. “But it’ll be a 1920 building with air conditioning, an elevator and a fire protection sprinkler system.”
The first tenant? A big chunk of the lower level will be the second Nickel City Bar; the first is located in Austin. GQ Magazine recently called Nickel City Bar one of best bar/restaurants in the country.
“We expect it to debut in the first quarter of 2020,” Dodson says.
“We’re talking but not naming names,” Hatfield said. “But when we do, it’ll be a game changer for South Main.”
O.K. Carter is a former editor and publisher of the Arlington Citizen-Journal and was also Arlington publisher and columnist for the Star-Telegram and founding editor of Arlington Today Magazine. He’s the author of the definitive book on Arlington’s colorful history, Caddos, Cotton and Cowboys: Essays on Arlington.