Meet the developers behind the $1 billion Stockyards expansion

Developer trio plans hotel, resi and retail in Cowtown attraction

Profile of Developers Behind $1B Stockyards Expansion
M2G Ventures' Jessica Miller Essl and Susan Miller Gruppi, Majestic Realty Company's Reon Rosky, Hickman Companies' Bradley Hickman (Getty, M2G, Majestic Realty, LinkedIn)

In the Fort Worth Stockyards, you can already watch a cattle run, sip a ranch water, buy bona fide western wear, two-step at Billy Bob’s honky tonk and catch a rodeo at Cowtown Coliseum. But there’s much more on the way to the historic livestock district, if the city and a group of developers get their way. 

Last week, details emerged about plans for a trio of developers to add 300,000 square feet of commercial space and at least 500 hotel rooms and 295 multifamily units, at a cost of more than $1 billion. 

The developers in question are Fort Worth-based M2G Ventures and Hickman Companies and Los Angeles-based Majestic Realty. 

Stockyards Heritage Development Company, a joint venture of Majestic and Hickman, briefed City Council on its plans earlier this month. Under the proposal, the developers would put up at least $630 million. They are also seeking roughly $380 million in incentives. As part of the deal, the city would purchase two underground parking garages included in the new development. 

If all goes to plan, the development would be completed in 2032. 

As Stockyards Heritage Development Company, Majestic and Hickman teamed up in 2014 to revamp the Stockyards. The first phase of the redevelopment project included Mule Alley, which opened in 2020, and Hotel Drover, an Autograph Collection hotel that opened in 2021. 

The Stockyards draw almost nine million visits a year, and any plan to change the district invites heated debate. At the center of it all stand three development firms. 

The Stockyards champion

Hickman Companies was founded in 1964 by Holt Hickman, who died in 2014. According to its website, the firm has a portfolio of three million square feet of industrial and commercial space throughout the Metroplex. 

Hickman was a champion of the Fort Worth Stockyards and was instrumental in preserving the area. 

He teamed up with Dallas businesswoman Lyda Hill to redevelop the Stockyards in the 1990s, with projects like Stockyards station, a visitors center and a Hyatt Place hotel. Hickman also invested in Billy Bob’s Texas,  and owns much of the area. 

Hickman’s son Bradley, who took control of the firm, has continued his father’s work. He has helped spearhead the recent changes to the attraction, including the development of Mule Alley. 

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The venture unveiled a master plan for the Stockyards in 2015; the first phase cost $175 million and delivered Mule Alley and Hotel Drover. 

While the redevelopment has been widely celebrated, the plan was initially met with resistance from the minority owners of Billy Bob’s. A bitter legal battle ensued, nearly sending the honky tonk to a foreclosure auction. 

The developer

Majestic Realty was founded in 1948 and owns an 83 million-square-foot portfolio of industrial and commercial property. 

Reon Roski, the granddaughter of founder Edward Roski Sr., was appointed president and CEO of the firm this month. She’s a real estate attorney who joined Majestic in 2007 as senior counsel. She inherited the role from her father Edward Roski Jr., who owned part of the Los Angeles Lakers and the Los Angeles Kings, and developed the Staples Center and L.A. Live.

Fourth-generation Texan Craig Cavileer represents the firm in its partnership with Hickman and is managing partner of Stockyards Heritage Development Company. He led the development of Hotel Drover and spearheaded the venture’s purchase of the historic Stockyards Hotel in 2022. 

From sisters to co-founders

Twins Jessica Miller Essl and Susan Miller Gruppi founded M2G Ventures in 2014. It stands for Miller Second Generation, a nod to their parents’ real estate company. 

The firm specializes in adapting mixed-use districts and developing urban residential projects. In 2022, the firm started working in Austin and Central Texas.

The sisters graduated from Texas Christian University and worked at Trademark Property Company. 

M2G Ventures is behind the Foundry District, a mixed-use project just west of downtown Fort Worth, and Proof, a revamped commercial space in the building that once held the city’s oldest grocery store. 

The firm was the exclusive retail partner for the first phase of the Stockyards redevelopment plan and wrangled a herd of brands including Lucchese Collection, Wrangler and Ariat. 

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