Several builders interested in old Sanger school property

The city’s effort to find a developer for the former Sanger School property drew only one respondent, who wants to build an indoor soccer facility.

Waco Community Development Corp., Neighborworks Waco, Waco Habitat for Humanity and CapRock Texas Construction Co. sent representatives to an interest meeting in the “request for proposal” process. Applicants have until July 11 at 2 p.m. to submit proposals for redeveloping the site, and the Waco City Council could consider a finalist in August.

City bid officials said they want to see a vision for something special on the property at 17th Street and Sanger Avenue. It was the site of the historic Sanger Avenue School building until it burned nearly a decade ago and was torn down.

The development should reflect the historic architecture of the adjacent Sanger-Heights neighborhood and preserve some distinctive elements of the site, including a giant live oak tree and the remaining masonry door arch of the old school, city property manager Kendra Anderson-Zadnik said.

City officials are open to a wide variety of uses, possibly mixing incomes, densities, rentals and owner-occupancy, and residential and commercial uses.

The city sought proposals in 2013 and got only one, from Waco Community Development Corp. The nonprofit home-ownership agency proposed 12 detached homes and 13 townhomes, along with a pocket park around the live oak tree. The city never took any official action on the proposal.

Roy Nash, executive director of Neighborworks Waco, also expressed interest but also questioned some assumptions in the city’s request for proposal. Nash said he suspects the old masonry arch would be an obstacle to develop around and might break if moved.

He said the city advertises the presence of water and sewer on the property, but old pipes might have to be replaced, as Neighborworks discovered when it developed Legacy Square on former city property in East Waco.

Philip Humber of CapRock Texas, who drove up from College Station for the proposal meeting, was enthusiastic about Waco’s economic growth and real estate potential. His firm is developer and builder of the 100-acre CapRock Crossing “power center” on Highway 6 in College Station and has also built custom homes.

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