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Historic Adaptive Reuse of High School Campus in Taylor Considered

07/11/2017 02:13:00 pm | Viewed: 282

Texas Construction News from Virtual Builders Exchange

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Texas High School in Taylor was purchased in 2016 from the school district for a mixed use development.

 

Posted: 7-11-2017, 3:23 p.m.

by Adolfo Pesquera

Taylor (Williamson County) - The city of Taylor City Council is reviewing a developer's plan for a historic renovation through adaptive reuse of the former Texas High School campus.

East Wilco 95 LLC, the developer, purchased the 7.35 acre campus, 410 W. 7th Street. from the Taylor Independent School District in late 2016 with the intent of performing a historic preservation and creating a mixed-use development. The company has been seeking a rezoning from residential and multifamily to commercial planned district.

While the mixed-use plan will have the usual residential, office and retail components, an important addition will be the use of outdoor and indoor spaces for booking live entertainment events and social or civic assemblies.

The developer's project will be presented at Thursday's City Council meeting for an update on its progress. While staff at the Development Services Department has generally found the concept appropriate, they have expressed reservations about the lack of parking for the scale of development being considered.

"The standard parking requirements for a development have not been fully captured within the parking scenario the applicant has proposed," staff reported. 

East Wilco 95 may execute parking agreements with adjacent properties and utilize a shuttle for larger events, but the language is voluntary and thus, there will be no city enforcement if this does not occur.

"In staff’s estimation, the site is likely over 300 parking spaces short and that must be pointed out with
 this proposal. Creating a shared parking scenario without the ability to have the proposed hours enforced, will not result in a parking scenario working as proposed," the case report concludes.

The four buildings on the campus that would be repurposed total about 56,890 square feet. The planned uses break out as follows:

  • The Main Building - mixed use with senior center, restaurant/bar, office space, multifamily residential and event center.
  • The Gymnasium - mixed use with event center and indoor recreational space.
  • The Welding Shop - storage, warehouse, workshop and office.
  • The Annex - mixed use with multifamily residential and commercial/restaurant/bar
  • The Yard - an outdoor event space with 38,000 square feet.

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The property is bounded by 7th Street, 9th Street, Davis Street, Fowzer Street and Vance Street. On its east/southeast borders, the site is adjacent to the Taylor Public Library. It is surrounded on two sides for blocks zoned multifamily, and on the other two sides by blocks zoned single family residential. However, there is a church across Davis in the residential area.

East Wilco 95 states in its presentation that 248 spaces are planned for the site. There are extensive lawns on the campus, but East Wilco is reluctant to convert them to parking.

"Maintaining campus greenspace is very important to East Wilco 95. The intention is to preserve as much of the natural beauty and environmental benefits of the lawn and landscaping as possible," East Wilco 95 states in its executive summary.

East Wilco has proposed setting up shared parking agreements with neighbors, but in defense of its parking calculations, added that the company "anticipates the booking of all event venue areas at once to be an extremely rare occasion."

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adolfo@virtualbx.com

 

 


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Adolfo Pesquera
Reporter/Editor
adolfo@virtualbx.com

Adolfo Pesquera is a veteran news journalist. He has worked for Hearst Corp., American Lawyer Media, News Corp and Freedom Communications. His work has been published in newspapers and magazines across the USA. He is a journalism graduate of UT-RGV. He writes, edits and creates digital pages for VBX.