Some have mocked its color scheme, and a Waco bank foreclosed on it last week, but The Containery at Fourth Street and Jackson Avenue may get another crack at redemption under new ownership.
It hits the market next week priced at $6.5 million, said listing agent Gregg Glime. Since 2017 he has pursued retail, dining and entertainment tenants for the cargo containers developer Bill Wetterman built near Fabled Bookshop & Cafe and Magnolia Market.
Design House Jewelry is the lone lessee, occupying 1,290 square feet in the 33,888-square-foot oddity some have labeled “Legoland.” Shop spokeswoman Bethany Swoveland said ownership is thrilled with the space, loves the size and location, “and gets lots of visitors from the Silos and people hanging out in downtown Waco now that revitalization is underway.”
That’s the case Glime made in announcing The Containery’s availability.
“I’ve had 75 offers on lease space the last four years,” said Glime. “It’s always proven to be very marketable to retail, restaurant and office users. We just need to get it over the finish line. I would say construction is roughly 90% done at this point. We have two other signed leases, but we’re not going to actively market the property for lease until the new ownership group arrives.”
Glime said he knows The Containery has generated interest among potential buyers locally, even nationally, but is listing the property without knowing a specific group waiting in the wings to pounce. He said in an interview Wednesday he continues to prepare a marketing brochure.
“Given the level of interest and the number of inquiries we’ve received, I would expect to see multiple offers once it’s up for sale,” Glime said.
City of Waco inspection official Bobby Horner said inspectors last visited The Containery nearly a year ago, on July 15, 2020. The project’s building permit expired Jan. 11 and would have to be renewed for construction to proceed.
A building formed from massive shipping containers is unique, said Horner, “but the basic inspection process has been the same, looking at plumbing, electrical, mechanical and framing.” He said he’s not aware of a specific issue precluding ownership from securing a certificate of occupancy.
The Containery’s coloring created dissension, however, with some city leaders recoiling. They made their displeasure known, and when Wetterman failed to meet a city-imposed deadline, a Tax Increment Financing board ordered Wetterman to repaint The Containery or lose nearly $500,000 in tax-supported TIF funding the city pledged early in the process.
Wetterman has not returned calls from the Tribune-Herald seeking comment, and The Containery has not seen a color change. TFNB Your Bank For Life, which financed construction, foreclosed on the property last week, claiming owner 4th & Jackson LLC defaulted on a loan of more than $4.4 million.
Since then, said Glime, discussions involving the city, TFNB Your Bank For Life and general contractor Mitchell Construction have taken place.
“I’ve talked with architects, designers and other artistic folks in town, and we’ve come up with a couple of ideas for maintaining the uniqueness and eclectic nature of The Containery,” Glime said. “Dissatisfaction with the color has been brought up by the city, but everyone has been open in talking this thing through. Everyone wants what’s best for the property.”
Suggestions have surfaced that murals, ivy or creative landscaping be used to cloak The Containery, possibly eliminating the need to entirely repaint it.
“This could change the curb appeal and aesthetics,” Glime said.
If the new owners get painted into a corner, so to speak, and a fresh look becomes mandatory, said Glime, the deed will get done. He’s securing cost estimates, he said, and plans range from $30,000 to $150,000.
Others with a stake in downtown wonder what the fuss is about.
“Beauty is in the eye of the beholder,” said Kelly Realtors commercial real estate specialist Colt Kelly, who is not involved with the project. “Some people will love the bright colors and some will not . . . I don’t know how much is left to actually finish out the space, but I would think the project could absolutely be rescued.”
Kelly said the new owners should have their choice of tenants.
“I am seeing a ton of activity pick back up downtown,” he said.
Local developer Shane Turner, whose resume includes remodeling the Waco Hippodrome Theatre and creating the popular Union Hall food hall, said he admires what those involved in The Containery want to achieve.
“I visited Boxpark in London, and it’s the same concept,” said Turner. “Personally, if I started this project, The Containery, I wouldn’t change it. I don’t know all the details, don’t know about the foreclosure, but I think it merits pushing forward. I’m not saying I’m taking it over. I’m not.”
Turner said paint him unconcerned about The Containery’s look.
“But if it takes changing colors to get it done, change the colors,” he said.
Glime said crews using cranes stacked and positioned more than 40 containers over four floors. They were paired with a heavily renovated, decades-old garage next door to create a courtyard, retail space, food hall and event venue. Even a basement once filled with debris from Urban Renewal projects was emptied and repurposed for use.
Units from 120 to 2,500 square feet remain available.
“This is a great product for a small business wanting to move into downtown, near the Silos, near tourists,” said Glime, touting its potential as an incubator. “You can cheaply build out your space, for a couple of thousand dollars, then pay rents of $1,500 a month. Compare that with securing more permanent space and paying $60,000 to $100,000 for build-out.”
The swollen Brazos River at Waco is expected to continue rising late this week as upstream dams at Lake Waco and Lake Whitney release floodwaters that have piled up from recent storms.
But it appears the region will begin drying out in coming days as the clouds roll away and temperatures rise, National Weather Service officials said.
After rising more than 10 feet over the last week and swamping the downtown Riverwalk, the Brazos at Waco was forecast to rise another 3 feet by this weekend, according to the weather service’s Advanced Hydrologic Prediction Service.
Most of that flow will come from upstream at Lake Whitney, which stood at 12.5 feet over its normal conservation level Wednesday. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers had closed all of its parks around Lake Whitney and had begun draining the floodwaters at a rate of 25,353 cubic feet per second.
Lake Waco was up 8.5 feet over its usual conservation pool of 462 feet above sea level and was releasing about 1,300 cubic feet per second into the Bosque River upstream of the Brazos. The Corps has closed Koehne Park, Lacy Point and Flat Rock access points as well as day use areas at Airport Beach and Reynolds Creek Park because of high water. All boat ramps are closed except for Airport Park.
Park Ranger Mike Champagne said some park roads are underwater and will take a couple of weeks to dry out for use after the water recedes. Bathrooms and electrical systems have also taken some damage, he said. But he was hopeful that the lake will be back in full use this month.
“Right now we’re at a pretty manageable level,” Champagne said.
Rains upstream of Lake Waco on Monday caused the North Bosque River to spike at more than 12,000 cubic feet per second at Valley Mills on Tuesday. The stream flow fell back to 2,560 cubic feet per second by Wednesday, which is still more than Lake Waco was releasing.
Waco Regional Airport recorded 0.82 of an inch of rain Monday and 0.17 of an inch Tuesday, but unofficial rain gauge readings around the county showed multiple inches.
“A lot of the pattern we’ve seen over the last couple of days show large variances over small distances, not so much uniform widespread precipitation,” said Jennifer Dunn, a National Weather Service meteorologist in Fort Worth.
Much of flow in the Brazos River has accumulated over the last week or two and is now being released from upstream lakes such as Lake Granbury and Possum Kingdom Lake, Dunn said. The heavy rainfall came from an upper-level low-pressure system in West Texas.
Now an upper-level high-pressure ridge is starting form, promising warmer temperatures, Dunn said. The watershed appears to be ready to dry out, though humidity will linger for a while, she said.
Temperatures reached 93 Wednesday, with a heat index of 102 degrees. The National Weather Service forecast through Sunday calls for more high temperatures in the low- to mid-90s and overnight lows in the mid-70s.
“We’re getting closer to our typical summertime pattern,” she said.
The public needs to stay aware of the health risks of hot weather, she said.
Dunn said some models show the high-pressure ridge may move out in the next couple of weeks, raising the chances of rain again.
A Harris County civil jury on Wednesday sided with Baylor University and two former football players, clearing them each of responsibility in connection with an alleged campus sexual assault.
The jury issued a unanimous verdict after deliberating for less than four hours following a three-week trial in the 234th Civil Court of Judge Lauren Reeder. The trial revolved around a former member of the equestrian team’s allegation that two football players sexually assaulted her on Nov. 12, 2017, while she was incapacitated in her dorm room.
“This was an important decision that recognized Baylor is not the same institution as it was three, four and even five years ago,” read a university statement. “We remain confident in the safety and security of the Baylor campus, in our training and education efforts related to sexual and interpersonal violence, and in our policies and personnel when such unfortunate incidents involving young adults do occur.”
The plaintiff’s attorneys did not provide a comment about the verdict.
“(The plaintiff) is entitled to every ounce of justice you give her,” Worth Carroll, one of her attorneys, said in his closing statement. “She is a remarkable human being, I am proud to know her…She deserves justice.”
The university in recent years came under fire for a sexual assault crisis. In 2016, law firm Pepper Hamilton released the results of an outside investigation that found the school fundamentally failed to address and handle reports of sexual violence.
Baylor ousted top officials and implemented more than a hundred recommendations, including training and education for students, faculty and staff, new policies and procedures, and a newly staffed Title IX office, according to the university.
“They’re embracing their responsibility and moving forward,” said Julie Springer, an attorney representing the university, in her closing statement Wednesday. She added that the school has become the “gold standard” for institutional structures, policies and procedures surrounding sexual violence.
These measures were in place when the young woman, whose identity is being withheld in accordance with Chronicle policy, arrived on campus in the fall of 2017.
The plaintiff’s attorneys argued that those steps were not enough to change a deeply embedded rape culture in which women were victim-blamed while the football team was prioritized.
In the wake of the scandal, fearing the loss of tuition dollars, the school launched a marketing campaign targeting high school girls and their mothers with a message of campus safety, the plaintiff’s attorneys said.
The jury found the school not responsible for the allegation that it committed fraud in connection with such messaging.
The woman accused her former university of allowing an unsafe environment to flourish at her residence hall and failing to warn her about a history of reported sexual assaults at the apartment-style complex, which mostly housed freshman student-athletes. The jury determined that Baylor was not responsible for negligence.
Baylor attorneys and witnesses repeatedly argued that non-stranger sexual assaults are not driven by location — they can happen anywhere. The majority of campus sexual assaults are committed by a known perpetrator, experts said. Besides, the number of sexual assaults reported at the young woman’s residence hall was declining when she moved in, the defense said.
Giving students or parents a dorm-specific breakdown of sexual assault reports, as the plaintiff suggested, could be misleading or raise confidentiality concerns, defense attorneys said.
“Not only was the plaintiff adequately warned about the dangers of sexual assault, every student was adequately warned,” argued Tom Brown, a defense attorney.
Springer, one of Baylor’s attorneys, balked at the plaintiff’s suggestion that freshmen women — who research indicates are at the greatest risk for sexual violence — should not be housed alongside freshmen football players. Students are adults who have the right to privacy and the ability to make their own decisions, she said.
“(It) treads dangerously close to engaging in stereotypes that our society has long since abandoned,” Springer said. “I find that notion as offensive as it is unsupported. There is nothing about those young men, any young male student athlete, that makes them more likely to commit sexual assault than an engineer student or a pre-med student.”
Springer, who accused the plaintiff’s attorney of theatrics, denied the allegation that the woman was victim-blamed when she reported her case to the university. Springer said the student received counseling right away and that the young men were immediately suspended from football activities and ultimately expelled.
The young woman reported her case to Title IX and Baylor University Police Department.
The Title IX investigation found Tre’Von Lewis and John Arthur responsible for engaging in nonconsensual sexual contact with the young woman while she was incapacitated. The young men knew or should have known that she was incapacitated, investigators found.
Lewis, of Houston, told the police investigator that he believed he had non-consensual sex with the woman, according to transcripts of his interview.
“I asked him if he believed he had sex with Doe without consent, he said yes and shook his head yes,” Sgt. Molly Davis wrote in a police report. “He said, ‘I should’ve been smarter than that.’”
Arthur, who testified by deposition last week, said he believes he had consensual sexual contact with the woman.
Davis said the evidence was inconsistent with the young woman’s claim that she was incapacitated, citing the woman’s inconsistent statements as part of her evidence.
Sexual assault experts testified during the trial that survivors of trauma may contradict themselves and experience scattered thoughts or fragmented memories due to the cognitive impacts of trauma.
Police found no probable cause and a McLennan County grand jury declined to indict either man on sexual assault charges.
Title IX and police investigations operate with different standards, different possible punishments and different definitions of sexual assault and consent.
The defense said the woman showed no signs of trauma until videos began circulating and teammates on the equestrian team bullied and shamed her in a phone call. Brown suggested to the jury that they may find the alleged assault was an “unfortunate and perhaps regrettable” sexual encounter, but not a sexual assault.
The young woman has experienced depression, anxiety and panic attacks for which she takes medication and sees a therapist, she testified. She left Baylor University and transferred to two different schools before eventually withdrawing. Most recently, she lost a job at a jewelry store due to a panic attack, she said.
The woman was joyful, fearless and full of hope and dreams before the alleged assault, her lawyers said.
“ I think she’s the bravest person in the room,” her attorney Tom Cunningham said.
GREAT FALLS, Mont. — DNA evidence preserved after a 1956 double homicide and the use of forensic genealogy has helped a Montana sheriff’s office close the books on the 65-year-old cold case, officials said.
Investigators with the Cascade County Sheriff’s Office concluded Kenneth Gould — who died in Oregon County, Missouri, in 2007 — more than likely killed Patricia Kalitzke, 16, and Waco resident Lloyd Duane Bogle, 18, the Great Falls Tribune reports. Both were shot in the head.
Detective Sgt. Jon Kadner, who took over the case in 2012, said Tuesday it was the oldest case he could find nationwide that has been solved using forensic genealogy, which searches commercial DNA databases to find familial matches to the DNA of a crime suspect.
On Jan. 3, 1956, three boys hiking along the Sun River near Wadsworth Park northwest of Great Falls found Bogle dead near his car. A day later, a county road worker found Kalitzke’s body north of Great Falls.
Kalitzke was a junior at Great Falls High School, and Bogle was an airman from Waco stationed at Malmstrom Air Force Base near Great Falls. Bogle attended Waco High School and was a native of Dawson, according to newspaper archive coverage. He is buried at Waco Memorial Park.
Officers investigated for years, but they were unable to make an arrest.
The case went cold for decades until 2001, when then-Detective Phil Matteson sent the slide of a vaginal swab gathered from Kalitzke’s body to the Montana State Crime Lab for analysis. The lab found a sperm cell that did not belong to Bogle, officers said.
In the following years, law enforcement compared the DNA sample to about 35 other men, including gangster James Joseph “Whitey” Bulger Jr. They were all ruled out as suspects.
When Matteson retired, he said he didn’t believe the case would be solved. “A lot of different people had a turn at this, and we just weren’t able to take it to conclusion,” he said.
In 2018, however, forensic genealogy, which was used to help adoptees find biological family members, was used to identify Joseph James DeAngelo Jr. as the Golden State Killer. The new method has led to the identification of dozens of suspects in cold cases.
In 2019, Cascade County detectives had Bode Technology perform additional DNA testing on the evidence found on Kalitzke’s body. It was uploaded to voluntary genealogical databases, where they discovered a possible family connection — leading investigators to Gould.
Kadner had to reach out to Gould’s children and ask for DNA samples to verify the match.
“I wasn’t sure how they were going to react when I come to them saying, ‘Hey your dad’s a suspect in this case,’ but they were great to work with,” Kadner said.
Gould’s family home at the time of the homicides was a little over a mile from where Kalitzke lived. He was known to ride horses through the area, officials said.
After the murders, Gould sold his property near the town of Tracy. His family lived in the Montana communities of Geraldine and Hamilton before moving to Missouri in 1967. They did not return to Montana.
Gould did not have a known criminal history and was not interviewed during the murder investigation. Investigators did not find any connections between Gould and the victims.
Officers kept working the case because of the circumstances, Kadner said.
“You had two young, vibrant individuals that were well-liked among their peer group,” he said. “Investigators poured their heart and soul into this case. They leave a little bit of themselves, from what I’ve seen.”