|Fort Worth's Mercado Boondoggle|
Mercado in the news again. Still empty. Still talking about it.
Read about it in the Fort Worth Business Press.
The ultimate success of the project may be determined by the area’s Community Development Corp. or CDC, currently called Northside Inc., and the organization’s ability to raise money and hire an executive director, said Sal Espino, who grew up on the Northside and now represents the area on the Fort Worth City Council.
When the Mercado itself last made news, it had just landed its first tenant after more than five years of sitting empty and neglected.
What was supposed to be the pillar of a $6.5 million Northside redevelopment – an authentic Mexican marketplace – had failed to ignite the expected growth along North Main Street.
It seemed like a good idea at the time: Bring economic development to Fort Worth’s near Northside by developing an area of shops, restaurants and stalls – a Mercado, reflecting the heritage of the mostly Hispanic residents of the neighborhood – and, in the process tie the touristy Stockyards District to downtown.
When Legaspi came forward with an offer, the city accepted with little objection. At the time of the sale, the city was on the hook for about $5 million that had been invested in the building via a local development corporation loan and other costs associated with the property. Legaspi bought the building for $2.5 million in cash, with a refundable $700,000 down payment. Many at the time said taxpayers were left holding the bag.
“If you look at the area between us and downtown, most of that is going to go for the Trinity River Vision. There’s not going to be a lot there,” Navejar said. “Much of the land between North Main and downtown will be covered by the town lake. The Historic Marine Urban Village will become Fort Worth’s front door.”