Tuesday, April 9, 2013

The New View!

Waco economy roars; homes snapped up

Spurred by a record-setting number of people working, the Greater Waco Economic Index posted its 13th consecutive monthly increase in February.

The number of people with jobs in the Waco/McLennan County 
area grew by 3,100 people between February of last year and this year. During January and February, Waco and nine suburbs and nearby cities had retail spending of more than $400 million.

builders were scrambling for home construction permits in February. The 54 permits issued represent the most for that month since at least 1999.

Sarah Roberts, senior vice president of economic development for the Greater Waco Chamber of Commerce, said the chamber starts this year with more exciting industrial prospects than it had in years 2010 through 2012, “and I’m talking about companies planning $80 million investments and 300 jobs.”

“The may not all make,” she said, “but they are in the pipeline.”
The city is in the midst of a construction boom involving $500 million in projects either recently completed or now underway and officials say it is one of the biggest explosions of activity in the city’s history.

Progress on the new Baylor Stadium as of March 7, 2013.

More than 1,000 pilings have been sunk into the ground. Concrete is expected to be poured this week for a main deck next to the river. The southern side of the 45,000-seat stadium sits on a section of a lagoon that has been filled in. The $250 million project is being fast-tracked to open in fall 2014, and so far it is on target, said Brian Nicholson, a Baylor official overseeing the project.
H-E-B to build $20M ‘flagship’ store at I-35, Valley Mills

H-E-B has secured a permit to build a $20 million store on South Valley Mills Dr. expected to open in the fall and become the largest in Waco. Plans call for a 120,560-sf main store, a 20,000-sf retail shell adjacent to it, a fuel station and a car wash.

In 2011, H-E-B acquired and demolished the old University Middle 
School and bought houses and businesses nearby, piecing together an 11-acre site at the corner of I-
35 and South Valley Mills Dr.

The new store will become Waco’s “flagship” location that will include features not found elsewhere. Officials say the new location will have space available for use by restaurants and retailers.

“To confirm, H-E-B will build a new store on South Valley Mills Drive/IH 35 and is set to open in fall 2013,” Jones said in an email to the Tribune-Herald.

“I can tell you it is going to be a fabulous store.”
New student housing complex planned near Baylor
Feb 27, 2013

Called the View, it will feature 257 apartment units and bedrooms for 718 occupants, in addition to features such as a swimming pool with cabana lounges, a clubhouse with social lounges, an outdoor barbecue area and Internet cafe. It is scheduled to open in fall 2014.

“It will be the largest privately owned student housing complex within walking distance of campus,” said Brad Copeland with Dallas-based Copeland Commercial LLC, which is placing the View near his alma mater, along with New Jersey-based University Student Living LLC.

The View will be be built on about four acres bounded by South 10th and South 11th streets, Speight Avenue and an alley at the rear of the property.

Copeland said he bought the land from Bear Waco Land Investors, which acquired it from businessman Joe Phipps, owner of University Rentals and several apartment complexes between South Seventh and South 12th streets.
Copeland said he has worked about 18 months to make the View a reality.

“Baylor is not involved and is not the owner in any way, shape or form,” Copeland said. “But we are making sure the architectural design will blend in with the campus buildings. We wanted Baylor to be excited about it, and we have their full support.”

Baylor spokeswoman 
Lori Fogleman said, “We are supportive of those who invest in development near our campus and around our city.”

Phipps described the View as “high-scale,” and said he does not see it competing with his projects that likely carry lower rental rates.

“I’m inclined to see it more in line with Baylor’s dorms,” Phipps said. “This is going to be quite an expensive project, with that garage essentially surrounded by the apartments. This is the kind of design you see in larger cities, but I’m sure they have done market surveys.”

Sources in the construction industry said it is common for parking garages alone to cost $10,000 to $12,000 per space, and the View will have more than 700.

“But I think the View can become an asset to the neighborhood,” she said. “It’s close enough to walk to campus and within the Baylor bubble.”

Jeff Wall, director of housing and community development for the city of Waco, said the arrival of the View could serve as an incentive to other property owners in the neighborhood to consider improvements to their apartments and rental homes.

The View will open within a short stroll of the South 12th Street commercial corridor, home to H-E-B, Domino’s Pizza, Shorty’s Pizza Shack, and Terry & Jo’s Food For Thought, among others.

It will have a brick veneer and attractive landscaping, Copeland said, and will include a mixture of bedroom units with one, two or four bedrooms, each fully furnished and designed with open living spaces, full kitchens and one full bath per bedroom. It will have parking spaces for residents within the garage, and extra spaces for visitors and guests.

Common areas will have multiple large-screen TVs, a fitness center and tanning facilities.

“Our approach to the development of well-designed, purpose-built student living is that it should benefit the entire community,” said Joseph M. Coyle, president of University Student Living, which owns more than 45,000 multifamily units in 33 states.

“Students have improved housing options, which reflects well on the university, and our commitment to quality ensures an attractive, sustainable asset that enhances the neighborhood.”

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