Finalist chosen to redevelop vacant lot
The Bastrop Economic Development Corp. has chosen a finalist to redevelop a vacant lot on Main Street where three buildings have burned to the ground.
The corporation recommended Stone Cobalt Partners, a joint venture out of Austin and Katy, to develop the troubled property at 921 Main Street, which closed two years ago because of structural problems.
Stone Cobalt plans to build a 4,500-square-foot mixed-use building, with restaurant and retail spaces on the ground floor, offices on the second floor, a balcony overlooking Main Street and possibly a rooftop terrace for special events. There are no architectural renderings of the project yet, but development corporation Executive Director Shawn Kirkpatrick said it will fit the historic design of the area.
The project will be a public-private partnership between Stone Cobalt Partners and the corporation, however the two groups are working on the terms and conditions of the agreement, as well as financial figures for the project.
Stone Cobalt has proposed leasing the second floor of the building to the corporation, which would sublease offices to the city’s Main Street Program and its new destination marketing organization, Visit Bastrop. However, the committee that reviewed proposals for the space recommended the second floor should be offered to a private company first, with hope it could attract a new business to Bastrop.
Over the next two months, the developer will work on plans for the site, which will come back to the corporation board for approval likely by year’s end, Kirkpatrick said.
“This just allows staff to start meeting with them and working with them on crafting what that project looks like,” he said.
The lot at 921 Main Street has stood vacant for 14 years, since the building there burned to the ground. In 2009, the city purchased the lot as part of a larger parcel of land to expand downtown parking. It was used by the Downtown Business Alliance for outdoor markets and events for many years, until structural problems forced the city to close the site.
Its side and rear walls are crumbling, and when it rains, water leaks down the slab into adjoining businesses, forcing neighboring Relics jewelry store to spend more than $90,000 to repair its shared wall. Engineers have estimated that total repairs could cost as much as $250,000.
The city, unwilling to spend money to fix the problem, sold the property to the economic development corporation last year for $4, though it had been appraised at $176,901.
Over the course of several months, the corporation engaged the community on what it would like to see in the future for the space.
Many groups had hoped for a pocket park — a gathering space that would draw visitors to the downtown square and encourage dining and shopping. Others preferred a new commercial building that would bring ad valorem tax revenue to the city. The corporation went with a building, since it was the safest option structurally and the most cost-effective. Additionally, it promised the city as much as $500,000 in tax revenue each year, according to a market analysis conducted by the Texas Historical Commission.