Waco Selects Parking Garage Builder, Considers Hotel Proposal Near Planned Baylor Arena | Local government and politics

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The hotel developer partnering with Magnolia to repurpose the Grand Karem Shrine building downtown also has a proposal to build a hotel next to Baylor University’s planned basketball arena along the Brazos River on Interstate 35.

The company, Adventurous Journeys Capital Partners, has properties in more than 50 markets, including three dozen college-themed hotels where they operate. But it looks like the hotel next to the Baylor basketball arena, if the city chooses Adventurous Journeys to build it, would have a distinct Baylor aesthetic and theme.

Although the Waco City Council has yet to officially decide who will develop the hotel on city-owned waterfront land, it selected a contractor on Tuesday to build a 435-space parking lot that will be connected to the hotel. The board voted to hire Dallas-based Austin Commercial LP as construction manager at risk for the four- to six-story garage at the intersection of University Parks Drive and Clay Avenue.

Austin will provide cost estimates and coordinate between the parking lot design team and the city. When completed, the ground floor of the parking lot will include outdoor space ready to accommodate restaurants, retail spaces and the hotel lobby. Austin Commercial quoted the city $914,000 for the project. The project is expected to be completed in 2024, according to Waco general services manager Kelly Holecek.

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City Council last month removed a meeting agenda item that would have allowed council to approve Nashville-based Adventurous Journeys Capital Partners to develop a boutique hotel across from the Paul and Alejandra Pavilion. Foster, the $213 million arena that Baylor plans to build. An Adventurous Journeys office manager told the Tribune-Herald on Tuesday that the hotel will not be part of the company’s Graduate chain, which has Adventurous Journeys partner colleges as its detailed theme.

In March, the city’s Downtown Tax Augmentation Funding Area Board of Directors recommended a $73 million contribution for the Riverfront development, in addition to a $20 million contribution from the TIF at Catalyst Urban Development which the city council approved before the basketball arena plans were announced. After a false start on a waterfront development in 2013, the city chose Catalyst in 2015 to manage the project. With the announcement of the Baylor Arena last year, the broader development scope expanded to include most of the land between University Parks Drive and the Brazos River, from Interstate 35 to Franklin Avenue.

About $34 million of the new $73 million TIF grant would go to the arena and boardwalk, and the rest would go to surrounding development. Baylor would allow the city to host up to 10 ticketed events and 25 community events during the first two years of the venue’s life.

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