By Megan Rule | Staff Writer
The development of six houses near the Baylor campus by Magnolia Realty is sparking excitement among the Waco community. The project has broken ground and is expected to be done by May 2017 so leasing can start in June 2017.
“These houses excite me because Magnolia Realty has made such a big impact on Waco, and it’s cool to see them continue to spread to students at Baylor,” said Austin sophomore Rachel Ormsby.
The project is not related to the show “Fixer Upper,” and Chip and Joanna Gaines are not personally involved in this project. According to listing agent Harris Arnhart, Magnolia is merely acting as a multi-family brokerage for selling the properties. The homes will be built by Merck Contracting, according to a recent Waco Tribune-Herald article.
“I am the listing agent and selling the property,” Arnhart said. “The owner put the plans together as far as floor plans go, and I helped with the finishing touches as far as aesthetic, color choice and type of material and what we wanted it to look like.”
The six single-family homes will be built on the entire half-block between 15th and 16th streets on James Avenue. There will be a middle point where three of the homes will mirror the other three with flipped floor plans. The dumpsters and porches of the left three will face towards Vitek’s, and the dumpsters and porches of the right three homes will face toward the Baylor campus. Each home is an eight bedroom, eight and a half bathroom home with three of the bedrooms downstairs and the other five upstairs. Arnhart said each home is a carbon copy of the next one.
“If you drive by, the stakes are in the ground for outlining the slab, and the slab will be poured either this week or next week,” Arnhart said.
Arnhart said the owner of the land has been piecing this land together over the last five to 10 years, and Arnhart helped him obtain the last lot needed to complete the puzzle. The homes have a more contemporary look as opposed to the cottage style that has been prevalent in Waco.
“Single-family homes are what students love as opposed to apartments, duplexes and townhomes,” Arnhart said. “This is what seems to be the most popular item.”
The homes are going to be leased at $650 a bedroom, or $5,200 a month, and sold for $524,900. The homes will be leased on a one-year basis, with the first lease ideally starting June 1, 2017, and ending May 31, 2018. Arnhart said the plan is to break ground on two of the homes and use them as a “see how it goes” type of process. Based on how quickly those two homes are sold or leased, they will determine how quickly construction will go on the other four homes.
“I’m most excited to see this land put to good use. It’s been vacant for a long time, and this segment of the market has changed a lot in the past year,” Arnhart said. “It’s exciting to see new things built and developed and to see the area changed in a good light.”
Arnhart said he thinks students will be excited about the idea of living with so many friends in a vibrant part of the student housing bubble. Arnhart also said the construction of these homes will certainly add to the businesses around them because it automatically puts 48 more students within walking distance.
“It’s so cool to be able to choose who you live with, and my roommates and I all work so well together, and I always look forward to coming home and hanging out with them,” Ormsby said. “Even when we are just sitting around, drinking coffee and studying, it is so relaxing to be in the presence of people that I love.”