B. Max Mehl

uilt in 1924, the Max Mehl building is a three-story mixed use apartment and commercial building, built with load-bearing ochre brick with limestone trim. An early building by Fort Worth architect Wiley G. Clarkson, the building was built for B. Max Mehl, a world renowned numismatist whose clients included Winston Churchill and President Roosevelt. The limestone front for his company, Numismatic Co. of Texas, was added in the 1930's and is intact. For its architectural significance and that of its original owner, the building appears to be eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places and is already listed as one of Fort Worth's most significant buildings.

The historic Max Mehl building is a three-story brick commercial structure that is prominently sited at the important intersection of Henderson Street and West Magnolia Avenue. Built by Maxamilian Mehl in 1924, it first housed the Max Mehl Numismatic business on most of the ground floor, the remainder of which was occupied by a retail shop. The upper two floors each housed five apartments, which were continuously occupied until the building was closed in the early 1980's.

Fort Worth South is situated immediately south of Fort Worth's Central Business District. It encompasses approximately 1400 acres, is the second largest employment center in Tarrant County and contains a significant number of major hospitals, medical institutions and support services. The Fort Worth South Strategic Plan incorporates a vision for the future and proposes projects for future development, while promoting redevelopment opportunities.

The historic Mehl building is in the center of the major redevelopment efforts on West Magnolia Avenue. The proposed mixed-use for the building fits within the projects outlined in the Fort Worth South Strategic Plan and the City of Fort Worth Comprehensive Plan. Market rate residential on West Magnolia Avenue is central to the long term goals of Fort Worth South for the Urban Village being established along Magnolia. The streetscape, including red pavestone sidewalks, benches, trees in cast iron decorative grates, protected parallel parking and reworked drainage and street paving were done by the City and community in the initial phase of the ongoing revitalization of the area.

The Mehl Building is part of the existing Fairmount/ Southside Historic District, a large, early 20th Century neighborhood on the near southside of Fort Worth. The commercial buildings in the Historic District are clustered along West Magnolia Avenue and Hemphill Street, the main arteries bordering the district. Most of the buildings are simple 1 or 2 story commercial style brick structures with storefront windows. Most of the two and three story buildings have apartments on the upper levels.

Through the 1970's the Southside went through a steady decline, reaching its low point in the late 1970's, although West Magnolia Avenue and Hemphill Street commercial corridors remained marginally viable, with some businesses surviving since the 1930's. Since the early 1980's, continuing redevelopment efforts have saved most of the significant commercial structures and adapted them into restaurants, coffee shops, retail, offices, a police station, loft apartments and corporate headquarters. The once crime-ridden neighborhood is now one of the safest areas in town, second only to downtown's Sundance Square.

Loft apartments, flex-space and commercial spaces have been designed - planned development documents have been submitted to the City - construction should commence mid 2001.

 

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