Bryan Aims for Southside Success With North Downtown Development

The abandoned building where Bryan's first 2009 murder victim was found will be torn down as soon as police tell the city they've finished investigating the scene.

The old dry cleaners where Dale Ellis was found dead is just one of a number of buildings due to get demolished over a number of city blocks that make up Downtown Bryan's northside.

Over the past few years, millions have been spent on the southside of the downtown area to repair the once-rundown part of town, which saw 17 new businesses move in over the course of 2008, according to the city.

Now, the focus has shifted to the northside, with money being set aside for redevelopment, including the tearing down of blocks of buildings on properties bought by the city.

"We have to create a new destination on the north end of Downtown Bryan, maybe a little public space, some high density residential, a mix of things, it's own project, really," said Bryan Deputy City Manager Joey Dunn.

For the south side of downtown, the LaSalle Hotel anchors the renewed area. To the north, the scene is dotted with abandoned sites, including the old, red-brick ice house building. That is the only building not slated for demolition because of its historic value. A use for the building has yet to be determined, but the city believes developers will be able to find a use for it and new buildings that will rise on the north end.

"Despite the national economy right now, we've gotten a lot of interest from developers who aren't dependent on the capital markets, ones that are flush with cash and say, 'Look, we know how to do this stuff,' and they make their money assembling property or dealing with dilapidated properties," Dunn said.

If anything anchors north downtown, it's Twin City Mission, which is in the midst of a capital campaign to raise funds to move to a new location. The city has helped with the process by purchasing the property where the mission currently sits.

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