Waco: Downtown developments to receive tax increment funding

TIF Board members toured some of the project sites Thursday. (Photo by John Carroll)
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WACO, Texas (KWTX) The Waco Tax Increment Financing Board voted Thursday to allocate $3.5 million in assistance to four newly proposed downtown Waco developments including a convention style Hyatt Hotel.

The new Hyatt will be constructed next to the recently approved Embassy Suites Hotel on Mary Street between South 3rd and South 4th streets.

"Certainly the Embassy Suites which will be near this and then the Hyatt are two additional convention style type hotels that will help with the demand of downtown hotel rooms," said TIF Board Chairman Wes Filer.

The board approved $1.9 million to assist in building the Hyatt Hotel.

The board approved $350,000 to hire a design firm to prepare plans for Elm Avenue Plaza and the transformation of Bridge Street between Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard and Mann Street into a "festival street."

Files says those plans will lead to major changes in that part of East Waco in the years to come.

"So to see a decline and then it's come back is absolutely incredible. This leaves the groundwork for the job. I think in the next two years we'll see an incredible change over there," says Files.

The TIF Board also approved $1.3 million in assistance to the City of Waco to reconfigure Washington Avenue from University Parks Drive to South 18th Street into a two-way, pedestrian-friendly street.

The project consists of pavement surface improvements, traffic signal changes, sidewalk and streetscape improvements, two-way bicycle lanes and needed changes to meet Americans with Disability Act standards.

In the final vote on Thursday, board members approved the assignment of the contract for a garage renovation project at 1020 Franklin Ave.