The recent sale of several buildings in downtown Waxahachie has the town talking.
Some of the most vocal folks are those whose businesses are already in the downtown area, particularly those situated directly on the square.
Though there are varying visions for downtown Waxahachie, nearly everyone agreed on the necessity of new development and the benefits it will bring.
Jim Lake Jr., associated with Jim Lake Companies, which revamped Dallas’s Bishop Arts District and Turtle Creek Boulevard, and Amanda Cross are partnering to infuse the square with a cohesive charm founded upon eclectic retail and refurbished historic buildings.
They have purchased the vacant county buildings are in the process of purchasing other downtown properties, including the Rogers Hotel. Their plan is to redevelop the buildings, bringing a mix of entertainment, retail and residential to the downtown corridor.
With several successful projects under their belt, they have both the resources and vision to help bring the city’s vision for downtown revitalization to fruition.
Zula’s Coffee House has served as the coffee shop of downtown for four years now, residing on the square for only a few short months. Owner and operator Terra Garza communicated enthusiasm for the upcoming changes. Since moving to the square from her property in the Rogers Hotel, Garza’s business has doubled. According to Garza, the introduction of more shops would only benefit her business and add to the longevity of the new shops as well.
Marcy Moore, a waitress at the Dove’s Nest Restaurant mentioned the limited hours shops on the square are open, citing a vicious cycle as the problem. The shops cannot stay open because there are no people on the square in the evenings, and there are no people because nothing is open.
Moore and Linda Spencer, a vendor at Gran’s Antiques thought an event center or other businesses geared towards evening activities might be successful in bringing more Waxahachie residents to downtown.
The project could be a community effort of enterprising and enthusiastic people working together to revitalize what could be a hub of excitement in Waxahachie.
Jerry Seevers of the Rogers Hotel Barbershop and Garza had several ideas about the improvements and shops they’d like to see downtown.
Garza thought a family style restaurant such as Babe’s Chicken or Sweetie Pie’s Ribeyes would be an exciting addition, while Seevers suggested using the space emptied by the 2011 fire for outdoor seating or funky food trucks.
According to Seevers, Lake is the perfect man for the job. He “sees a vision and goes for it,” Seevers said, adding that he has the business sense and the enthusiasm to effectively “bring us up to speed.”
Waxahachie has similar resources to the Bishop Arts District, with longstanding buildings and old-fashioned construction. Lake recreated one of the oldest parts of Dallas, using resources already in place, and he can take a similar tactic in Waxahachie, Seevers said.
Lake and Cross might be the public faces of the project, but those talking on the square said it must be a community effort.