What’s the Big Deal About South Main?

Better-Block-2-1You may have heard that we bought a building on South Main Street on Fort Worth’s Near Southside. Like many, you might be wondering why we would make the move from the vibrant restaurant- and hipster-encrusted streets of Magnolia Avenue to the seemingly desolate no man’s land of South Main.

I’ll tell ya why: South Main is about to explode.

Not in 10 years. Not in five years. South Main’s karmic upswing is closer than you think.

Right now it may be full of jacked lots and vacant buildings, but South Main’s sum is greater than its parts. It’s a dusty jewel waiting to be polished and set in gold.

South Main’s revival has been on a slow burn for the last five years, and it’s only going to get better.

The neighborhood’s first big win came in 2007 when local urban redevelopment pioneer Eddie Vanston began converting the abandoned Sawyer Grocery building into retail space and 15 apartments. The apartments leased out almost instantly, and the retail spots are currently occupied by businesses such as Stir Crazy Baked Goods, The Salon Upstairs, Thumbtechs and Robert Kelly Architects. Two years later, he took the derelict Miller Manufacturing building and converted it into the Miller Lofts, the coolest loft apartments in town. Now he’s about to turn the old Supreme Golf Warehouse into loft apartments and a beer garden.

In 2010, a block of South Main was subject to a guerilla improvement project that gave it bike lanes. And because of that project’s success, the entire street was re-striped with permanent bike lanes in 2011.

South Main experienced another major win in 2011 when Mystique, the former occupant of TSC’s future headquarters, was shut down. Their “Get Money Sundays” were notorious in the area. Sawyer and Miller residents who would watch Mystique’s Sunday-night shenanigans from the Sawyer Building’s rooftop said it was like watching Cops live. Way to keep it classy, Mystique.

And that’s just the beginning of South Main’s resurgence.

In fall 2012, Amphibian Stage Productions will be opening next door to TSC’s new headquarters at 108 South Main, further ensuring a concentration of cool hitherto unknown to the once-reviled Mystique building. And later, South Main is scheduled to get a major streetscape improvement that will combine streetscape enhancements (wider sidewalks, trees, street parking and bike lanes) with a full street reconstruction, which it desperately needs. There are also several mixed-use developments planned for up and down the street. And the unrehabbed two- to three-story buildings that line South Main provide the perfect bones for a vibrant, eclectic neighborhood.

The neighborhood’s proximity to downtown and the T&P train station is also huge.

So that’s what’s up with The Starr Conspiracy’s future home. South Main isn’t as pretty as Magnolia right now, but it’s only going to get better. Just wait.

Image: FortWorthology.com