By Rebecca Flannery
Pending a city plan commission meeting at 7 p.m. today, the former H-E-B on Speight Avenue will be torn down and replaced with a new apartment complex.
Just one block away from The View, another apartment complex is proposed to go up in place of the abandoned H-E-B. Austin-based developer American Campus Communities would build on the newly-designated development land. The project is estimated to cost $40 million.
Beatriz Wharton, city planner for the city of Waco, said there was a 7-3 vote during the last planning meeting in favor of making the area sustainable for a new development. Meeting the maximum allotted height for a building in the area, the complex is designed to reach 600 feet, or five stories, which is a cause for concern among those voting on the proposal.
“Three members were concerned about the building blocking the Baylor skyline,” Wharton said. “However, the plan is well within the limitations of city requirements.”
Based on artist renderings, the the H-E-B building will be demolished and rebuilt to take up the entire piece of land. Stretching from Speight Avenue to James Avenue and from 11th Street to 12th Street, the plot will contain enough units to house 702 people.
Wharton said the decision from city planning meeting today will then go to the May 19 city council meeting, which will determine if the land will be built upon.
“There’s no timeline yet for the demolition and building of the property,” Wharton said. “That will become more of a reality after the city meetings are finished on May 19.”
Belton junior Darius Ewing lives past the lot and passes the structure on his way to classes daily. He said building a new apartment in the abandoned lot’s place will create some unwanted traffic.
“The prospect of an apartment being there with all of the traffic is a little daunting after seeing how much traffic was added by The View,” Ewing said. “That coupled with 11th Street Flats going in makes it a little overwhelming.”
Dale Fisseler, Waco city manager, said he believes the new complex will be a positive effort in creating new housing for Baylor students.
“Well, I miss the old H-E-B,” Fisseler said, laughing. “But I know they’ve taken a lot of time and effort to create something that’ll be a benefit to the community.”
American Campus Communities was unable to comment on the plans for development at the time of publication. However, the rendering drawn for the citywide proposal show amenities including an onsite parking garage for 620 vehicles, a pool and a covered courtyard accessible to all residents.
According to the American Campus Communities website, its mission is “to be the premier provider of quality student housing communities and services through a unique understanding and unrelenting commitment to students, parents, educational institutions and investors.”