A renovation project is about to change the flavor of Fort Worth’s Near Southside, as two sisters are transforming the former O.B. Macaroni Co. building on Vickery Street into a vibrant retail and office hub.
Jessica Miller Worman and Susan Miller Gruppi, co-owners of M2G Ventures, acquired the building that housed a family-owned pasta business for 112 years with the intention of giving the landmark structure a new lease on life.
“We saw something that others didn’t,” in the building Worman told Dallas Innovates.
“We saw something that others didn’t.”
Jessica Miller Worman
The sisters plan to create something unique at the brick and metal structure that is visible from Interstate 35W just south of downtown Fort Worth.
Last week, M2G announced three retail businesses soon will call it home — Craftwork Coffee Co., W Durable Goods, and MELT Ice Creams.
It might be a little off the beaten path for pedestrian or retail traffic, but Worman said it’s a good location in an important part of the city.
“We’re having to retrain people how to get there, but it’s super easy,” Worman said.
She said most of the buildings M2G acquires don’t have the kind of history the O.B. Macaroni building does, and are “gross warehouses that we turn into something.”
The sisters look for things with potential that can be renovated into usable properties.
“What my company tries to do is look at a building for its new life, not its history,” she said.
While they are giving a new purpose to the O.B. Macaroni property, Worman and Gruppi are trying to maintain the building’s storied past. They hope it will be a gateway to the Near Southside with production and showroom space.
THE BUILDING WAS BUILT AS A CARRIAGE HOUSE IN THE MID 19TH CENTURY
The original structure was built in the mid 1800s as a carriage house, Worman said, and it was enlarged and modernized through the years.
The Fort Worth Macaroni Co., which would later be named the O.B. Macaroni Co., moved into the structure in 1905 and shipped pasta products from its rail siding to locales across the Southwest.
“It operated that way until December 2015,” Worman said.
Now, the three-story structure encompasses 46,000 square feet of space.
The oldest part of the structure — the carriage house — measures 21,000 square feet. An addition grew the building by 10,000 square feet, followed during the years by an enclosed alley that connected two buildings, and a 6,000-square-foot warehouse.
Worman said the building’s “cool basement” has columns that are 24 inches around, and M2G plans to maintain the gold inlay ceiling in the old hotel section.
“It’s an amazing structure, they don’t make them like that anymore,” Worman said.
FORT WORTH ENTREPRENEURS TO CALL HISTORIC SPACE HOME
The new tenants will have branding opportunities for their areas, including the silos that sit outside.
The first of the new tenants to move in is Craftwork Coffee, which already is roasting coffee in the historic building. The company will have the ability to produce 1,500 pounds of coffee per week, which it supplies to distributors and vendors for individual and corporate consumers.
Craftwork is owned by Riley Kiltz and Collin Samson, who said locating at the building will be a “clear path to Craftwork’s growth.”
W Durable Goods will begin operating from the building in August.
It is a fast-growing leather company, and the building will be home base for its production of a new and expanded selection of vintage hats and other objects, stationery, and home decor products.
The company is co-owned by Daniel and Stephanie Wright, who said in a release, “We have been waiting for the right building to come available in Fort Worth and the Near Southside has delivered a gem in the rough.”
“We’ve been hoping to work with the M2G sisters on a project because of their collaborative spirit and bold creativity.”
Worman said that MELT Ice Creams already has started work on its commercial kitchen and will begin producing its made-from-scratch products there in the fall.
Owner Kari Crowe-Seher said her company had outgrown the kitchen at its Magnolia Street storefront, and she plans to use the O.B. Macaroni building as a larger onsite kitchen.
“We’ve been hoping to work with the M2G sisters on a project because of their collaborative spirit and bold creativity,” Crowe-Seher said in a release. “The way they view growth in Fort Worth aligns with our beliefs with the beauty of this city.”
Worman said that she and her sister are working with a malt production company to take a 5,000-square-foot warehouse space. Roughly 10,000 square feet of space could be temporarily used as a monthly market in the near term.
CREATING THE ‘MOST UNIQUE’ OFFICE SPACE
And, on the third floor, Worman said they can create “some of the most-unique office space in Fort Worth.”
There are two old pasta dryers on the floor that could be repurposed, she said.
M2G Ventures is “taking time and doing the right thing for the building,” Worman said.
She said they must make parts of the building ADA compliant so that areas such as the third floor can be handicap-accessible. It’s an expensive, but necessary component of the renovation.
“We’re changing the face that others have forgotten about.”
Jessica Miller Worman
The sisters were attracted to the building because they own other properties on the Near Southside, and they really like what is happening in the area, Worman said.
She said the company’s work is a reflection of a new generation of developers with transformative ideas.
“We’re changing the face that others have forgotten about,” she said.
“We want to make Fort Worth what we want to make of it, and not wait for somebody else,” she said. “We all believe in it.”
Photos by Chase Mardis.