Magnolia expands: network, new building downtown

The building, located in downtown Waco will be home to the Gaines's new Magnolia Vacation Rentals development. Claire Boston | Multimedia Journalist

By Lizzie Thomas | Staff Writer

Chip and Joanna Gaines announced on The Tonight Show Friday they will be starting a “lifestyle-oriented” TV network, yet to be named.

In addition to releasing Joanna’s book, “Homebody,” this weekend and signing a contract with the city to purchase a large downtown building from the county this week, the couple will be refocusing their role in the TV business. On the show they told Jimmy Fallon that the majority of the network will be filmed in and around Waco.

“We’re excited to share that we are currently in the early stages of talking with Discovery about a lifestyle-focused media network for Magnolia,” John Marsicano, a spokesman for Magnolia, said.

According to Magnolia’s social media, Chip Gaines apparently jumped the gun, as details have not been solidified.

“The details surrounding this opportunity remain a work in progress, but together, our hope is to build a different kind of platform for unique, inspiring and family-friendly content,” Marsicano said.

Magnolia’s social media described Gaines getting so excited that he spilled the beans on TV.

Immediately after the show, @Magnolia tweeted “We want to create a space on television unlike anything that exists today. A lifestyle channel aimed at inspiring and looking at the world in a new way. Stay tuned…”

Magnolia Vacation Rentals is also looking to physically expand further into downtown.

The company is under contract with the county to purchase the Karem Shriners building, one of the buildings that adds to Waco’s downtown historical character, which is appraised for $1.6 million, as well as a county garage, potentially for additional parking. According to Dustin Chapman, the county administrator, Magnolia HQ LLC is under contract for the Karem Shriner and its parking for $930,000 and the garage for $500,000.

“There are currently a few different ideas under consideration, but we have not made a final decision yet. We’re excited about the possibilities of this downtown location and appreciate the ongoing support from the county, the university and the city,” Moriscano said.

The Karem Shriners building on the 700 block of Washington is 90 years old and has a distinct arabesque style. The county bought the building from the Shriners (a branch of the Masons) in 1995.

Magnolia has not publicly indicated any intended uses for the property.

“They’ve done so much for Waco and Baylor that it needs to be their announcement,” Jim Peevey, a commercial real estate broker the county hired, said.

According to Peevey, the county wanted to sell because they were not using the building; they wanted to get it back on tax rolls and it’s a good time to be selling property downtown.

“We’re excited, and it’s a good time for downtown Waco,” Peevey said.