Corpus Christi: Historic Wards Building to Undergo Restoration this Summer
Feature Photo (above): Looking up from the sidewalk along Peoples Street, the old north façade of the historic Ward Building. Image: Google Streets.
by Adolfo Pesquera
Corpus Christi (Nueces County) — Construction on the historic Ward Building must begin before the end of August, under the current terms between the developer and the downtown tax increment redevelopment board.
That is not expected to be a problem, according to a status report given to the TIRZ #3 board of directors at their May session.
The Ward Building at the corner of Peoples and Chaparral.
The report states that the developer anticipated closing on the construction loan with their bank in June and starting construction shortly thereafter. The staff presentation also noted that designs are complete and a general contractor has been selected.
The developer, Peoples Street Project LLC, which acquired the property from the City of Corpus Christi in early 2019 for $150,000. Peoples Street Project also developed the adjacent building, 317 Peoples St. across Chaparral from Ward, into the Nueces Loft Apartments.
The Ward Building was constructed circa 1934-1936 and operated as a Montgomery Ward department store in the 20th century. The three-story, 21,973-square-foot building was abandoned and in disrepair when the city acquired it.
This restoration is a $4.3 million mixed-use real estate project. Plans are to have a mix of retail on the ground floor, and art studios on the second floor; the building is located in the Marina Arts District. Between the first and second levels, there is also a mezzanine level that is being preserved.
The third floor was designed to accommodate eight loft apartment units. The apartments are expected to command monthly rents of about $1.50 per square foot.
The Ward is at 409 Peoples Street at the hard southwest corner of Peoples and North Chaparral Street. The building stands on a 0.169-acre lot and has a 32-car surface parking lot on two sides.
When the property was acquired, the first priority of the TIRZ board and the developer was to stabilize the roof. Prior to the restoration, a new roof was installed.
This is Project ID 2020-346D in the VBX database.
North side elevation of the Ward Build, as restored. Courtesy: B&A Architects.
Adolfo Pesquera (Reporter/Editor) 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.