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Magnolia seeking $6 million from Waco TIF for downtown hotel

Magnolia seeking $6 million from Waco TIF for downtown hotel

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UPDATE: Waco board recommends 5.5 million for Magnolia hotel project


Magnolia and a business partner are asking for a $6 million Waco Tax Increment Financing Zone grant to support their $42.8 million redevelopment of the Grand Karem Shrine Building at 701 Washington Ave.

Work is expected to start in the coming months on Hotel 1928, named for the year the building opened. The hotel would feature 33 rooms and a large restaurant, meeting space and rooftop terrace.

The TIF board will consider the $6 million request in a public meeting at noon Thursday in the city of Waco Operations Training Room, 1415 N. Fourth St.

City staff has recommended the TIF board approve a $5.5 million grant, according to meeting documents. The TIF zone uses a portion of property tax revenue collected from central city properties to reinvest in the area, and the board recommends projects to the Waco City Council, which has final say over funding.

The grant would pay for historical consultants, facade improvements, public parking, burying of utility lines, and water, stormwater and sewer work.

The start of work on the project has been delayed from initial timelines because of “various COVID-related delays,” Magnolia spokesperson John Marsicano said. The project is scheduled to wrap up in 2023.

The Grand Karem Shrine Building will undergo an extensive redevelopment. The completed hotel will have an 8,000-square-foot restaurant, 6,200-square-foot meeting space, and a 3,550-square-foot rooftop terrace.

McLennan County bought the 53,000-square-foot building in 1995 for $383,000, after the local Karem Shriners, established in 1919, moved to a new property off North River Crossing.

Magnolia paid the county $930,000 to buy the building in 2019.

Waco City Council will have final say over any TIF allotment the TIF board recommends.

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