Efforts to redevelop the Hawn Hotel and Arcadia Theater are set to continue this week as the Temple City Council is expected to vote to provide more city funding for the project.
City Council members will consider Thursday whether to set aside another $450,000 in reimbursement funds for the projects. These funds, combined with money already set aside by the city, will provide $1 million for the refurbishment of the structures.
The increased reimbursement proposal comes as estimated costs of refurbishing the historic downtown Temple properties have doubled since the city approved the original amount.
In December 2018, Turner Behringer Development Co., the group redeveloping the buildings, estimated the total cost of the project would be about $6 million. According to city documents, the group recently informed city officials that the projected cost of the project had risen to $12 million due to the extensive work needed.
“The amendment recognizes that the TB team is doubling their committed investment in the project and, as a result, the city will also increase our incentive,” Temple spokeswoman Laurie Simmons said “We want businesses to continue investing in downtown Temple, and when developers like Turner Behringer are willing to complete a huge mixed-use project revitalizing iconic landmarks like the Hawn Hotel and Arcadia Theatre, the city wants to support them.”
This $1 million in reimbursement funds that are being set aside by the city are for two elements of the project — the removal of harmful building materials such as asbestos and some of the redesign process for the building.
To pay for the reimbursements laid out in both the old and new agreements, the city will use a combination of funds from two different sources. Temple’s Reinvestment Zone No. 1 will shoulder 70 percent of the reimbursement, while the city itself will pay for 30 percent.
Money from the city will only reimburse up to $1 million in construction costs by the company, and will not be spent if the company does not use all the funds available.
According to Simmons, all of this investment will soon be put to use by the Turner Behringer group as the company is expected to start construction in January 2020. The group currently is still in the design phase of the project while also waiting for a pending tax credit from the city.
Under the agreements, the Hawn would be renovated into for-lease apartments with retail or commercial space on the lower floors.
The Arcadia will be turned into a multi-purpose performance space, able to host everything from performing arts events to lunch banquets. The Sears building, which is part of the development, will become retail or office spaces with additional residences possible, city officials have said.
Once the work on the hotel and theater are completed, city officials hope that the buildings can help bring some life back into downtown.
“We have waited for so long, for years, for this part of the downtown to be revitalized and to come alive,” City Councilwoman Judy Morales said. “I think this project is going to have a big impact with the economic development (of the city) overall.”