Majestic Realty’s recent acquisition of the Stockyards Hotel, its restaurant, and saloon began with a cold call. The buyers couldn’t figure out who owned it, even after extensive research. “We left a message with the front desk and said, ‘Please have the owner call,’” says Craig Cavileer, executive vice president at Majestic. Bob McLean, who had owned the property for the past 35 years, responded and agreed to meet with Cavileer and Kayla Wilkie, director of design and development. Soon after, they shook hands on a deal. Word of the sale leaked out, and a bidding war ensued, but McLean’s word was gold. “It’s just authentic Texas business and hospitality,” Wilkie says.
The high-profile property is the most recent addition to California-based Majestic Realty’s redevelopment project in Fort Worth’s historic entertainment district. The company first partnered with Hickman Cos. of Fort Worth on the project in 2014, when real estate icon Holt Hickman was starting to craft a legacy plan for the 70 acres he owned in the Stockyards.
His son and daughter wanted to do more than typical preservation, and they sought Cavileer’s help. A public-private partnership was formed between Majestic, Stockyards Heritage Development Co., and the City of Fort Worth to take the project to the next level.
The $200 million plan included the adaptive reuse of the area’s mule barns into a mixed-use shopping and restaurant haven called Mule Alley, which opened in June 2020, and the construction of Hotel Drover, a 200-room luxury Western hotel. Two years after opening, Mule Alley has attracted national brands such as Ariat and Lucchese and restaurateurs Tim Love and Marcus Paslay.
Majestic has hired more than 500, making it one of the largest employers in Tarrant County. Hotel Drover opened in 2021 to positive reviews and was recently named the best hotel in North Texas by Travel + Leisure. “It was definitely a labor of love,” says Wilkie, who took the lead on Drover’s design after joining Majestic in 2018.
Now, she and Cavileer are bringing the same approachably luxurious and Western feel to a 300-unit multifamily development slated for completion in the Stockyards in 2025. “It’s not a repeat of the Drover, but it’s the same sort of DNA,” Cavileer says. Amenities will include a rooftop infinity pool, outdoor community area, golf simulator, and more.
Majestic also is developing 15 acres near the turntable inside the Stockyards, on East Exchange, which will house shops, offices, more hotels, and potentially a new headquarters for Professional Bull Riders—the sports organization plans to move from its long-time home in Colorado. They are calling this project “The Festival District,” hoping it will provide even more entertainment options to visitors.
“We’re adding more to give people more to do—more reasons to be at the Stockyards,” Cavileer says. “I don’t think Van Gogh painted for money; he painted because he loved it. We’re doing this because we love it, and we hope we make a little money and make it worthwhile.”
A total of $500 million is going toward revamping the Stockyards. Renovations to the kitchen at H3 Ranch have already been completed. Work on the hotel is soon to follow; planning has already commenced. Wilkie says the redesign will honor the hotel’s rich history (see sidebar) balanced with a boutique feel. “The history lives on because we put the time into it to make sure that it’s welcomed and appreciated,” she says.