Hawn Hotel and Aracadia theater

The aging Hawn Hotel and Aracadia theater is shown in downtown Temple.

Temple’s Hawn Hotel, old Sears building and Arcadia Theater will soon see new life after many years and several false starts.

Temple and the developers behind the project — Turner Behringer Development — announced the start of the project on Thursday. Officials said construction is expected to begin sometime in October and last about 18 months.

“The Hawn Hotel and Arcadia Theater have been pillars of Temple’s historic downtown for nearly a century, so we are beyond excited to see that these landmarks are going to get a second life,” City Manager Brynn Myers said. “There have been so many dedicated people who have worked to make this a reality, and we can’t wait to see what the end result will be.”

The Hawn Hotel — formerly the Doering Hotel built in 1928 — has sat empty in the city’s downtown since 1978.

The 93-year-old building, located at 114 E. Central Ave., was purchased by Temple in 2006 in hopes of finding a group to renovate it. After a previous failed attempt by another company, the city entered into an agreement with Turner Behringer in 2018.

Turner Behringer is a Waco-based company that has done similar restorations, called adaptive reuse projects, in McLennan County

“Adaptive reuse refers to the conservation attempt to reuse an existing structure for purposes other than for which it was originally constructed,” Shane Turner, partner and broker at the company, said. “We have had great success with our adaptive reuse projects in Waco, including the historic Hippodrome Theater, Madison Apartments, and Altura Lofts, and are excited to expand into Temple.”

Councilwoman Susan Long said she was very happy to see construction ready to start on the local landmark.

Long said she knows there have been many false starts to the project in the past, but feels confident that this time the restoration will finally start.

“Of course, anything can go wrong,” Long said. “I just think that this is really it, I really do. This is just terrific.”

Long said her family has had connections to the buildings, with her brother in-law having worked as a ticket taker at the Arcadia Theater and her in-laws attended dances at the hotel.

With the building’s restoration, Long said she anticipates it to be a spark that will further revitalize the city’s downtown.

“This has been so many years in the effort, and it is just going to be so transformational,” Long said. “I hate that word, transformational, because we use it for everything but I think it is true in this case. I think that the Hawn and the Arcadia are quite something.”

In addition to the renovations, improvements will also be made to local streets, landscaping and signage.

To help with parking for the Hawn and nearby improvements, the city is also building a parking garage at 1 N. Fourth St. The 89-lot garage will help improve the parking situation in downtown Temple.

Cody Turner, partner and development manager for Turner Behringer, said these sorts are improvements are important to creating a good downtown in a city.

“More than ever, a community’s development and economic activity are dependent on the vibrancy of its downtown and the effect it has on the character and culture of the city,” Turner said. “The Hawn and Arcadia redevelopment, centered at the heart of downtown, represent a cultural landmark and a notable step in creating space for people to enjoy all this beautiful city has to offer.”

City officials said they expect all of the projects to be completed by the spring of 2023, with the Hawn and Arcadia taking 18 months and the parking garage taking 13 months.