The Waco developers aiming to revitalize the Hawn Hotel and Arcadia Theatre plan to invest more than $6 million into the downtown Temple facilities.
The Temple City Council will vote Thursday to enter into an economic development agreement with Turner Real Estate. Brothers Shane and Cody Turner have played a key role in Waco’s downtown redevelopment by restoring several buildings, including the historic Hippodrome Theatre.
If approved, the city will convey the Hawn Hotel, the old Sears building at 102 E. Central Ave., and a city-owned parking lot at 119 E. Adams Ave. to the Turners. The city purchased the hotel in 2006 for $340,000.
The Temple Historic Arcadia Theatre Inc., a nonprofit group that manages the theatre, will convey the Arcadia as well.
Under the agreement, Turner Real Estate will be required to complete at least $6 million worth of improvements to the properties to include residential, retail and entertainment uses. The Arcadia will be utilized as a multi-purpose events center and performance hall.
The Turners have yet to announce specific plans for the project, but the brothers have plenty of experience to draw from. Since 2007, they have invested more than $100 million in Waco’s downtown district.
Their first priority was to create residences in downtown Waco to support potential new businesses.
“When we first started to develop down here, all these buildings were empty, so there was really no base to support any businesses,” Shane Turner said. “My brother and I first decided that, if we’re going to do something down here, it has to have a heavy residential component. Otherwise, we’re counting on people from the suburbs to come and support it, and that hasn’t worked in the last 40 years.”
A development called Franklin Square at 700 Franklin Ave. is an example of what could be done in Temple. With three retail spaces, a food hall and 15 lofts, the facility is one of several mixed-use developments the brothers have been involved in.
“Since we started development, close to 2,000 rooftops have been developed downtown. We’ve developed about 400 of those,” Turner said.
The agreement dictates that developer must complete improvements to the Hawn and Arcadia within three years.
In addition to conveying the properties, the city will provide an estimated $550,000 worth of reimbursement funding to help tasks such as asbestos abatement, facade improvements and design work. It will also devote $1.6 million to design and construct certain public improvements such as intersection enhancements, landscaping and signage.
In a separate item, the Council will consider authorizing a 10-year tax abatement on the properties. It would be a 100 percent abatement for the first five years, decreasing by 10 percent each additional year.
Turner Real Estate and the city have spent the past year researching the proposal and negotiating terms. After several failed attempts to renovate the buildings in the past, City Manager Brynn Myers wanted to ensure this proposal had every opportunity to succeed.
“I never want to incentivize failure. We want to be in the business of incentivizing something that’s going to be successful, not something that ultimately doesn’t work in the market,” Myers said. “We’re excited for the work the Turners have done on studying the market and knowing what they feel like is going to be successful.”
Thursday’s meeting takes place at 5 p.m. at the Temple Municipal Building, 2 N. Main St.