Mission Waco announced in June it had bought the building at North 15th Street and Colcord Avenue that housed Martha Jane’s Liquor Store.

Now executive director Jimmy Dorrell is encouraging residents of the North Waco neighborhood to have their say about what it should become.

He invites the public to attend a meeting from 10 to 10:45 Saturday morning at the site and will give visitors time to tour the building before discussing its future, he said in an email announcing the meeting.

“Based on our approach to community development, your input matters about possible uses of the building,” Dorrell wrote.

The space could become a small retail center that outside businesses could retrofit as part of a lease agreement, and he welcomes input on possible retail uses, according to the press release.

“We are also open to office units, various programs and other ideas,” Dorrell wrote. “One of the challenges is parking, which will be discussed.”

The old liquor store is near Jubilee Food Market, which Mission Waco created in an old Safeway store using almost $1 million in contributions from individuals who bought symbolic stock in the store, donated or discounted labor and materials, and donations from retailers including H-E-B and Walmart.

Before the Jubilee Food Market renovation, Dorrell involved the community in deciding the best use for the old structure. Residents in the area overwhelmingly supported creation of a grocery store to eliminate a food desert in the neighborhood, which is more than two miles from the nearest grocery store, an H-E-B at North 19th Street and Park Lake Drive, Dorrell said.

Dorrell for years had tossed offers at Martha Jane Ezar, who owned and operated Martha Jane’s Liquor Store, but Ezar would not sell. In mid-June, she accepted a $125,000 offer for the 1930s structure that includes space for the liquor store and other retail uses.

The purchase was made possible by a donation from a Dallas businessman and longtime supporter of Mission Waco whom Dorrell declined to identify.

“Although we currently do not have renovation funds available, we do have an architect willing to donate his time to help design what the outside facade might look like, as well as offer some basic ideas about the inside,” Dorrell wrote in the Mission Waco email.

“There is a lot of work yet to be done on the inside.”

Recommended for you