Monday’s announcement of plans for a new downtown office building might have presented even longtime residents with an unfamiliar name: Jetta Operating.But the oil and gas producer, which is behind the project, has been around since 1991 when petroleum engineer Greg Bird founded the privately held company. Before that, Bird worked for Fort Worth-based Cawley, Gillespie & Associates, an industry consultant that’s also located in the Fort Worth Club Building, where Jetta has its current offices.Through what Bird called “gradual and steady growth,” Jetta has come to employ about 115 people in Fort Worth, plus 55 or so at various field offices.“We’re running out of room,” Bird says, and new quarters are “something we’ve been thinking about a long time.”Jetta’s plans call for a multiuse office building and parking garage on about three-quarters of a downtown block, bounded by Sixth and Fifth streets on the north and south and by Taylor and Lamar streets on the east and west. The land, once owned by the Star-Telegram, was bought by the Fort Worth Club in 2008 and had been used for overflow parking by the club’s members and guests.Bird wouldn’t elaborate on specifics of the new offices, preferring to wait until the deal closes, expected by the end of June. But he shared some of Jetta’s history.“We started out in natural gas in the ’90s, and transitioned production to oil in 2000-2005. We’ve continued to grow out oil production,” he said. True to his roots as a petroleum engineer, Jetta looked for producing properties that could be improved.Last year, Jetta produced about 2.4 million barrels of crude oil in Texas alone, along with nearly 6 billion cubic feet of gas. That’s about three times as much oil and more than twice as much gas as it produced in the state a decade earlier. It also has production in parts of Arkansas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Kentucky and Mississippi.“Our goal is to buy properties and work them hard and make them shine,” Bird said.Which leads to the company’s name.Jetta is a variation of the word jet, a coal mined in England. It’s jet-black (yes, that’s where the term comes from) and can be carved and then polished to a shine, enough so that it was used as jewelry for centuries, becoming especially popular in the Victorian era.Cabela’s gives north Fort Worth store a face-liftCabela’s has given its Fort Worth store in far north Fort Worth an $8 million face-lift.The popular outdoor retailer recently hosted a grand reopening of the 9-year-old store, off Interstate 35W and Alliance Gateway.Melissa Barry, Cabela’s marketing manager, said the remodeling was all cosmetic upgrades, including replacing all the tile and carpet in the 230,000-square-foot store.Most of the work was done overnight when the store was closed, she said.The upgrades also included adding extra walkways through the store, redoing the restrooms with new fixtures, installing new fixtures and kitchen equipment in the Mesquite Grill, redoing the wall murals, adding a customer service counter and expanding the apparel and marine departments.“After time, it just starts to wear down, especially the carpet,” Barry said.Cabela’s, based inb Sidney, Neb., was founded in 1961 and says it is now the world’s largest seller of hunting, fishing, camping and other outdoor-related merchandise.
Sandra Baker, 817-390-7727 Twitter: @SandraBakerFWST Jim Fuquay, 817-390-7552 Twitter: @jimfuquay Barry Shlachter, 817-390-7718 Twitter: @bshlachter