City Manager Gets First Look At Multi-Million Riverfront Proposal

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WACO (June 19, 2013)--Waco City Manager Larry Groth got his first look Wednesday at a proposal from local developers Rick Sheldon and Joe Beard that would transform the landscape of the Brazos River from the Franklin Avenue bridge to Interstate 35.

A rendering of how the completed development might look.

Waco requested proposals this spring for development of 16 acres of land it owns on or near the river, which the city would lease to the developer on a long-term basis.

Brazos Riverfront Development Partners was the only company that submitted a proposal to the city by the June 12 deadline.

Groth, who was out of town when the multi-million dollar plan was submitted, was poring over the proposal Wednesday and said he was pleased.

“I have been working on the development of the Brazos riverfront for 30 yeah, I am excited,” he said.

The plan calls for riverfront condos, apartments, retail shops, hotels, restaurants and even a grocery store plus new green space and it could carry a price tag of as much as $300 million.

The proposal must be reviewed by a committee of community stakeholders, the Downtown Development Corporation board and must be approved by the Waco City Council, but if it clears those hurdles, Groth said ground could be broken on the project by the fall of 2014.

The development would be the culmination of a push dating back to the 1980s that led to the creation of Indian Spring Park, construction of the river walk, the relocation of Waco’s zoo to Cameron Park, and more recently extensive residential and commercial development in the downtown area.

The project would complement and serve as a commercial bridge to Baylor University’s $250 million on-campus football stadium, which is due to be finished in time for the start of the 2014 season.

The on-campus stadium is now under construction on a 93-acre site on the East side of the river.

A pedestrian bridge will be built across the Brazos to connect the stadium to the campus.