Historic 1930s farmers market in Fort Worth is getting a facelift

Wilks Development plans to build on and renovate historic Public Market building

Wilks' Kyle Wilks with 1400 Henderson Street (Wilks Development, LoopNet)
Wilks' Kyle Wilks with 1400 Henderson Street (Wilks Development, LoopNet)

From old-timey farmers market to an urban senior living facility, Fort Worth’s historic Public Market building is getting a makeover to keep up with the times.

Wilks Development is behind the renovation. The local developer is looking to satisfy demand for senior communities in Fort Worth’s urban landscape, according to the Dallas Business Journal.

The plans for the development include a 199-unit community, called the Harden, that will be built around the old trading center. The Public Market building will be open to the public as Wilks intends to convert the historic structure back into a community hub.

The Henderson Street farmers market and retail center was first opened to the public in 1930. Developer John J. Harden spent a total of $150,000–more than $2.5 million today– on the project.

“The public has to be able to relive what the public market was like back in the ‘30s when it was built,” said Kyle Wilks, president and CEO of Wilks Development. “That’s our task, is to create that public atmosphere.”

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Developing around an historic landmark isn’t without its complications. Anything Wilks designs must pay homage to the Public Market building, the company said. The property is also located off Interstate 30, which adds noise pollution and other challenges to the development.

“The two things that we spend most of our time working on was how do we not overbuild around the Public Market, how do we show respect to the Public Market building… so that it doesn’t look like the buildings behind the public market overshadow its glory and its luster,” Wilks says. “And, how do we protect the property and the residents from noise pollution?”

In addition to designing special windows and walls with extra thickness to combat noise pollution, the Fort Worth developer is working out the finer details of how to restore the building to its former function as a community gathering place. Whether its local art or chic cafes, the company is in it for the long haul, says Wilks.

The restoration project mirrors one underway on the other side of TX-360 in Dallas, where Quadrant Investment Properties is turning one of the city’s old manufacturing districts into the next ‘It’ neighborhood.

[Dallas Business Journal] – Maddy Sperling