Chris Van Horne
Some historic buildings in the Stock Yards may be too dilapidated to save.
Some changes are ahead for a century-old property on the eastern edge of the Fort Worth Stockyards.
Chesapeake Energy said it has hired a company to demolish the old Armour Meat Packing Plant and sell the property to be developed. Chesapeake originally purchased the property for a well site, but has two other facilities that can reach minerals near the Stockyards.
The plant has a huge cultural and historical significance, as it was the economic driver of the Stockyards for decades before closing in the early 1960s.
The plant opened in 1902, but the building has seen better days. Chesapeake said some of the brick is turning to sand, and the building may no longer be structurally sound.
"I'm not an architect, but I can see structural issues," said Tom Wiederhold, president of the North Fort Worth Historical Society.
Wiederhold toured the plant last week with Chesapeake officials and agrees it would be too cost prohibitive to redevelop.
"So much history with the cattle industry and livestock industry," said Hub Baker, manager of the Cowtown Coliseum. "It's a shame we can't preserve it, take every brick down and put it right back."
While no one in the Stockyards wants to see the plant go, they all recognize the potential economic growth in what might replace it.
"Bringing it (the Stockyards) out, expanding isn't just good for the Stockyards, but North Fort Worth and the city of Fort Worth and the tourism industry," Wiederhold said.
And those who already make their living in the Stockyards said they'll welcome anything as long as it fits in with the atmosphere already cultivated there.
"Anything that brings people in, hotels, restaurants, a convention center," Baker said.
There is no set date for the demolition, but Chesapeake said it will happen soon unless someone makes an offer to save the building. But with that being an unlikely option, local leaders look to make something out of the historic loss.
"It has to be looked at positively. We can't sit here and be negative about something that we have no control over," Wiederhold said.
Chesapeake said the building and land has been for sale for some time now. The company is hosting a luncheon on Thursday called "Honoring the Past and Envisioning the Future" for anyone on the city's northside.
While the Armour plant is set to be torn down, the Swift plant buildings' future is still up in the air. That property is owned by another company and only two of those buildings may be salvaged according to Wiederhold. Part of that property, he said, is part of the Trinity River project.