The Ellis County Commissioners Court will consider authorizing the sale of eight properties owned by the county in downtown Waxahachie at its next scheduled meeting Monday, July 22. If approved the action would allow County Judge Carol Bush to execute the deed of sale and all related closing documents for the properties.
Listed in the proposed sale are buildings located at 114 S. Rogers St., 109 W. Franklin St., 111 W. Franklin St., 113 W. Franklin St., 115 W. Franklin St., 117 W. Franklin and 200 S. College St. An unnumbered lot on south Rogers Street that is immediately adjacent to 115 and 117 W. Franklin St. is listed in the proposed sale as well.
“Since the county opened its Courts and Administration Building in June 2010 and relocated many of its offices to that facility, properties on the square have sat vacant. The city of Waxahachie has devoted a great deal of time and effort to the issue of economic development in the downtown area,” Bush said in a previous statement to the Daily Light.
“Certainly an acquisition of the county buildings by an entity with vision and resources could provide a much needed catalyst for those revitalization efforts. Additionally, a sale of the building would also mean that the properties would be placed on the tax roll, thereby generating funds that could be utilized in other areas of need within the county.”
The commissioner’s court will meet in the historic Ellis County Courthouse located at 101 W. Main St. in the second floor courtroom at 3 p.m.
In addition to Monday’s meeting a special meeting of the city council and the Tax Increment Reinvestment Zone Board has been called by the city. The meeting has been set to take place in the council conference room at city hall at 11:30 a.m. Friday, July 26.
The TIRZ is a geographic area, which includes the central business district and was established in by voter approval in 2003. When property values go up within the zone, the increase portion of the tax dollars goes toward funding downtown revitalization projects. Though the TIRZ, restoration of the MKT train depot and the purchase of the Texas Theater was made possible.
The council and the TIRZ Board will hear a presentation and consider incentives related to the purchase and restoration of four downtown building located at 109-115 W. Franklin St. and 114 S. Rogers St. They will also hear a presentation and consider incentives related to the improvements of the Rogers Hotel located at 100 N. College St.
Waxahachie City Manager Paul Stevens said the group interested in purchasing the county properties and other additional downtown properties are very prominent developers from the Dallas area who have worked in developing the Bishop Arts District in Oak Clift and the Dallas Design District.
Stevens said their plans for the area are in line with the city’s goals of what downtown could be which include bringing retail, restaurants, entertainment and creating residential areas in the buildings.
“Some of the renovations of the county buildings will be quite extensive and very expensive. What we are looking to do is to provide some of the TIRZ money to help them to do that. They are looking to pour about $3 million into those buildings,” Stevens said. “We are extremely excited about it. We think that it is going to be great for downtown. I think that it is going to turn the downtown area around.”
Waxahachie Chamber of Commerce Economic Development Council Chairman Mike Ramsey said the possible sale of these buildings is a unique development opportunity to put downtown back on the economic map for the city.
“This maybe the greatest opportunity we could have ever hoped to have to really get the square back and revitalized in the hands of professionals that have proven themselves successful,” Ramsey said. “I think that it is the best opportunity that we have ever hoped to have. I think that it will put the spark back in our town that we have needed for a long time.”
Ramsey said these developers not only have the contacts to get the right vendors and restaurants in but also have the financial backing to do what the city and the community has wanted to do in the downtown area for so long, which is to make it a thriving and successful area.
The Waxahachie City Hall is located at 401 S. Rogers St. For more information about the upcoming meetings, contact the county at 972-825-5000 and the city at 469-309-4000
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