Several projects continue to take shape in downtown Waco, including renovation of the iconic Pioneer Savings & Loan building at North Ninth Street and Washington Avenue that has been vacant since 1991.
An Associated General Contractors newsletter says bids are being taken for the third phase of the project, which includes finish-out work.
The Waco-based Walker Partners engineering firm bought the building from local businessman Clifton Robinson last year. Company president George E. “Jed” Walker said he would relocate company headquarters from Austin Avenue to the refurbished two-story structure.
Jacob Bell, client manager for Walker Partners, which also has offices in Austin and Killeen, said Friday the company plans to move into the former Pioneer Savings location in spring of next year.
“So far, we’ve gone through demolition and exterior work that we call the ‘shell’ package. Now we’re on to finish-out,” said Bell, adding a staff of 45 employees, including surveyors and engineers, will occupy the space.
Elsewhere, Pura Vida Day Spa has moved into the former Wild West Waco nightclub space at 115 Mary Ave., but owner Erin Kubala said Pura Vida will still make use of its former location at 708 Austin Ave.
“The original plan was to move the entire operation there and just have one location, but I have decided to open a second, upscale spa at our old address,” said Kubala in an email message. “It will be a high-end day spa with a sauna, hot tub, cold plunge and private party area for larger groups and parties. We are calling it Pura Vida Elite.”
Kubala said she has secured a building permit, and Kaiser Construction has begun remodeling the place on Austin Avenue.
“We are hoping to be up and going by Nov. 1,” she said. “We are super excited and think it will be something fun and different, with great facilities for locals and out-of-town guests.”
In an interview, Kubala said she does not believe one location will siphon guests away from the other. She said at the former Wild West site, guests often stop by during their lunch hour for a quick massage, whereas the Austin Avenue spot will provide “the complete spa experience,” including relaxing “and spending 30 minutes in a hot tub.”