Waco Downtown Development Board OKs Riverfront Proposal

The Waco Downtown Development Corporation board Tuesday sent a multi-million dollar riverfront development proposal to the Waco City Council.

(Photo by Jim Peeler)

WACO (July 9, 2013)—A team of developers headed by two local men made its first formal presentation to city leaders Tuesday on a proposal that would transform the banks of the Brazos River through downtown Waco.

The proposal calls for riverfront condos, apartments, retail shops, hotels, restaurants and even a grocery store along the Brazos River in downtown Waco

Fourteen of the city's top leaders on board heard a detailed presentation Tuesday by developers Rick Sheldon and Joe Beard, and it was clear that they had some questions.

“We want to be comfortable that this has a durable life,” Waco Mayor Malcolm Duncan, Jr. said.

"We want to make sure that the project has the sustainability, that there’s sufficient entertainment, there’s sufficient connectivity with especially Baylor and the river and the rest of the community,” Duncan said.

Baylor Senior Vice President for Operations and Chief Financial Officer Reagan Ramsower expressed cautious optimism, but said negotiations lie ahead and that it’s going to take some time to fully understand how the development will work.

The board sent the proposal to the Waco City Council with a recommendation that the city begin negotiations to complete a development agreement.

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.

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