As work continues on turning the collection of rusty silos at 601 Webster Ave. into a multiuse area downtown, Chip Gaines said he and his wife, Joanna, are getting more excited about the potential the site holds as a retail marketplace, mecca for food trailers and headquarters for the Gaineses’ Magnolia Homes business.
The stars of HGTV’s “Fixer Upper” program received $208,376 in tax incentives from Waco City Council to convert the aging complex into Magnolia Market.
“We’re in full swing,” said Chip Gaines in an email message to the Tribune-Herald. “We’re excited to move into our new offices and open the market this summer. The city has been very optimistic and helpful about the project, and HGTV plans to film the process.”
Originally scheduled to unveil Magnolia Market this spring, Chip Gaines said he now is looking at a completion date in July.
“We’ve got our first coat of paint on the warehouse, and we’re working on the fencing” around the complex, he said, adding crews will place an elevator in the massive warehouse this week and are adding infrastructure to support about 15 to 20 food trucks.
The Gaineses will provide electricity and other necessities to make the 2.6-acre site attractive to the array of mobile food vendors now populating downtown, as well as others.
They have indicated they will spend $1.4 million to create Magnolia Market, with money from the Tax Increment Financing Zone helping to grease the skids.
Other improvements the couple have mentioned include an entertainment stage and a large showroom where fans of the TV show can buy souvenirs and furnishings.
Chip Gaines said the most time-consuming part of the project likely will involve constructing offices and the retail market inside the warehouse.
The Gaineses have faced challenges in getting Magnolia Market moving forward, among them the condition of the 120-foot silos.
Some city leaders, among them Councilwoman Alice Rodriguez, questioned their plans to leave the hulking, peeling silos intact, rust and all.
The Gaineses persuaded officials to see things their way, with Chip Gaines arguing to the TIF board that the silos “are impeccable and fashionable and interesting as they are.” He added that the freshness of the rest of the refurbished complex will allow the aging silos to represent stylish contrasts.
The Gaineses received permission to leave the silos as is.
“We believe their plan will be a substantial improvement that the community will embrace,” said Willard Still, chairman of Waco’s Downtown Development Corp. “They have a very sensible plan, and we embraced it. I have to give credit to Joanna Gaines. She has good taste, and a proven product.”
The Gaineses are known for their “shabby chic” interior decor on homes they renovate on national television.
Besides their hit television show, “Fixer Upper,” the Gaineses have their own real estate division and sell residences under the Magnolia umbrella.
Joanna also operates a shop called Magnolia Market at 3801 Bosque Blvd., where home furnishings and decorations are sold.
The season finale of “Fixer Upper” aired last week on HGTV, but Magnolia Homes business manager Elizabeth Stovall said episodes will be repeated.