Static: Wednesday, October 15, 2003
A D V E R T I S E M E N T
A D V E R T I S E M E N T
Destination: Mercado

“It’s the biggest thing to happen to the North Side since they built Billy Bob’s. And for Hispanics, it’s probably the biggest thing that’s happened on the North Side — period.” So says a second-generation Hispanic retailer, referring to a recent groundbreaking several blocks south of the Stockyards. Looks like that big empty parking lot between La Playa Maya and Los Alamos restaurants in the 1500 block of North Main Street might see a few oil stains after all. The front portion of the parking lot is being torn up so that North Side businesswoman Deyla Guadiana can build her dream place, the $4 million (and counting) Fort Worth Mercado Inc. — 58,000 square feet of retail, office, and restaurant space with a Latin flair.

This stretch of North Main was neglected until the city tried to spur reinvestment several years ago by paving the parking lot, building a fancy sidewalk and stucco wall, refurbishing the old Rose Marine Theater, and offering federal loans to property owners. Nobody has invested more money than Guadiana, who already owns two nearby buildings. She’s gambling that residents and tourists are ready to support a Mexican-style marketplace in a spot too far north of downtown and too far south of the Stockyards to be reached by foot. Construction won’t be completed for a year, but Guadiana is already seeking tenants to offer Mexican pottery, leather goods, silver, costumes, party décor, and cuisine. “It’s not going to be an average shopping center,” she said. “It has to be unique, like the Stockyards.”

Some wonder if Guadiana is building a jewel in an area destined for mediocrity, but mark Static’s words — years from now, the Fort Worth Cats ballpark and Guadiana’s Mercado (and eventually, maybe a new lake on the Trinity) will be viewed as the catalysts that connected downtown and the Stockyards to make North Main one long destination spot.

Hi, Holly

Found ’er. Holly Smith, masseuse to the masses, or at least to a bunch of folks who made her the readers’ choice in that category in Fort Worth Weekly’s “Best of 2003” poll, works at Perfect Touch Day Spa. The winner’s certificate, one of those highly prized awards, should be in the mail soon. Give Static another, oh, say, three weeks, and we’ll hand out the phone number of the Weekly staffer you should harass if you haven’t gotten yours by then.

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