Historic building to be replaced with high-rise
Property on Northgate sold to build apartment complex
Published: Monday, February 18, 2013
Updated: Monday, February 18, 2013 00:02
The street cones, building cranes and hard hats that dot Texas A&M’s landscape will soon be joined by another construction project on University Drive.
College Station City Council approved the sale of a 3.36-acre lot at the corner of Wellborn Road and Church Street for the intended construction of a new high rise apartment complex last week.
The property is one of College Station’s historic buildings and the former site of the original city hall. It is the current location of the popular pizza and wine bistro, Café Eccell.
“I’ve eaten there a few times and really liked it,” said Annie Salinas, freshman history major. “One of my professors took his wife there for their 20th wedding anniversary. It has sentimental value [to students and faculty], and I’d rather it not be torn down because of its place in College Station’s food scene and history.”
Randall Heye, economic development analyst for the City of College Station, said the significance of the building and restaurant will be taken into account as the planned construction moves forward.
“The developers made a verbal commitment to the city that they would construct a monument or try to incorporate existing brick into the final product to commemorate the location of the original city hall,” Heye said. “One of the plans is to possibly reopen the café on the first floor [of the high-rise].”
Matt Walker, a manager at Café Eccell, said although the lot had been sold, it is still too early to know what role the restaurant might play in the development plans.
“We would be honored to be a part of any new development, but at this point the city, the purchasers, and we are still working out the details,” Walker said.
In the summer of 2011, College Station’s City Council began looking to sell some of its properties, and the corner of Wellborn and Church Street became one of several locations the city offered to potential buyers.
In light of Texas A&M’s recently unveiled student-growth plans in the “25 by 25” initiative, Heye said the transaction and the planned complex could not have come at a better time.
“Even though the city made this decision independent of the University, it worked out timing wise,” Heye said. “These new apartments, along with all the new development along Northgate, will help accommodate the increased enrollment of Texas A&M. The student population will have more choices on where they choose to live.”
While it is still too early for drawings or construction plans, preliminary numbers say the apartment complex will be four to eight stories tall and will house between 400 to 600 residents. A parking garage will also be constructed. The developers will have two years to obtain building permits, and students can expect the new building to open its doors by January 2016.
The lot was sold to Asset Plus Reality Corporation for $3.5 million, and projected costs put construction at about $30 million. The sales revenue will be allotted among the city’s various expenditures during this fiscal year’s city budget meeting.