Cowtown’s consideration of a $1 billion expansion has received mixed support, as it could greatly impact one of the city’s most treasured sites.

The current expansion proposal would add 300,000 square feet of commercial space, hotels, and underground garages to the iconic Stockyards in Fort Worth, replacing the current parking lots.

The plan would require the Fort Worth City Council to pass a tax incentive for Fort Worth Heritage LLC, an affiliate of the Stockyards Heritage Development Co., reported the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. Investors have already committed to putting $630 million into the new project.

Criticism of the new proposed development is similar to the pushback Mule Alley received a decade ago. However, Mule Alley has become a popular attraction since its development, with visitor counts at the Stockyards having tripled since it was built.

Council Member Carlos Flores has been supportive of the new project, highlighting the success of the Stockyards’ past development.

“The pace has increased, of course, now with the announcement of phase two, and phase one has been proof that the redevelopment direction was valid,” Flores said, reported the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

Still, Fort Worth businesswoman Cheryl Bean has been critical of the development and has concerns it could lead to casinos coming to the city.

“As a sixth-generation Texan whose roots began in the West Texas cattle industry, I strongly believe we need to maintain the Stockyards as a unique Texas experience that is true to our history. I remember the stories of my dad as a boy helping my grandpa bring their cattle to the auctions and sleeping in the stall with his cow,” Bean told The Dallas Express.

“I’m glad the plan is to build parking underground in hopes of keeping some of the old pens visible. My biggest fear is that this is laying the groundwork for casinos to move in that would destroy the Stockyards. Want evidence of this, look no further than Silver Dollar City in Colorado. This historic town is now a dirty and decaying town since casinos took over. What started as a ‘money-making concept’ has become the kiss of death for this mining town,” Bean explained.

Casino giant Las Vegas Sands Corp bought 108 acres near Dallas in July 2023, reported the Las Vegas Review-Journal, with speculation swirling that the site would one day be used to build a casino.

“The company has long shown its interest in Texas, and Dallas-Fort Worth specifically, and may make additional real estate investments in the future,” a Sands spokesman said, reported Las Vegas Review-Journal.

The Dallas Express reached out to the City of Fort Worth but did not receive a response by the time of publication.