By Sriya Reddy
Ferrell Fellows said she believes South Dallas is the last frontier when it comes to development.
To her, people focus so much on North Dallas that they forget the potential down south.
“I’m a real estate broker,” said the South Dallas resident. “I’ve sold houses all over Dallas-Fort Worth. I’ve seen how people live. I’ve seen the promise in the community, and there’s something about South Dallas that is so promising and so hopeful to me.”
Fellows and her real estate company, Kingdom Legacy, are building a wellness center in South Dallas off of Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard that will open this summer with a restaurant, gym, and rooftop garden. Fellows said that this complex is just one part of a solution to create a healthier South Dallas.
Construction on the building, which is the former location of Dallas Weekly, one of the oldest-running Black newspapers in the city, will begin in May.
South Dallas has often been referenced as one of the unhealthiest zip codes in the area. According to Parkland Hospital’s Community Health Needs Assessment from 2019, South Dallas has a significantly lower life expectancy than other parts of the city. There are also high rates of hypertension and diabetes.
One of Fellows’ goals through this center is to address the lack of opportunities to live a healthy lifestyle in South Dallas. By including tenants that address both physical and mental health, it will be easier for residents to make healthy choices.
“If you walk by a gym 10 times in a week, at least one time you’re going to say ‘maybe I should go to the gym,’” Fellows said. “But if there’s no place that even promotes fitness or wellness in your community, then it will no longer be valued because it’s not accessible to you, and that’s what we’re seeing here.”
G3 Health Club, a fitness center led by South Dallas locals, will be one of the tenants of the MLK Wellness Complex. Larry Yarrell II is an owner alongside Nick Fellows, Ferrell’s husband. Yarrell and Nick Fellows started G3 as a way to connect people passionate about fitness.
“We should be able to do something like that for our entire community particularly in South Dallas where there are no fitness opportunities, right, there’s no fitness clubs and in the southern sector, particularly in the Fair Park area,” Yarrell said.
Yarrell said that there aren’t many places in South Dallas where children can go after school, and he hopes that this location can become a pillar in the neighborhood.
“We’ll have a number of different activities, events and things that really welcome the entire community in what we’re going to lead with the youth,” he said. “What we are building is a future of wellness for the entire community.”
Other tenants include Kingdom Sandwich, a restaurant that touts healthy eating with educational classes and internship opportunities for local high schoolers, and TK Snacks and More, a family-run healthy vending machine company started by two middle school students. There will also be a massage therapist and holistic health center.
“People need a voice,” Ferrell Fellows said. “Obviously, their voice hasn’t been heard for a long time, so I want this building to be like a megaphone to the city of Dallas.
“We can be great, we can be healthy, we can be prosperous.”