A housing boom continues in the area, with the sound of hammers and heavy equipment echoing from Hewitt to Bellmead to Robinson to Waco.

Exhibit A is the number of permits issued to build single-family homes and duplexes between April 24 and April 30, as reported by the local office of Associated General Contractors of America.

Local entities issued permits to build 29 single-family homes and 31 duplexes during that seven-day snapshot. Fort Worth-based national homebuilding powerhouse D.R. Horton led the pack but hardly enjoyed a monopoly. Others securing permission were Stylecraft Builders, Rex Restoration, Yours Truly Custom Homes, Stanton Homes, DWE Construction and Design, Saunders Homes, The Alford Company, Waco Heritage Homes, McNiel Homes, J. Michael Clark Builder and Waco Community Development.

Homes to be built ranged in estimated cost from $100,000 on North 21st Street to $600,000 on Ridgewood Drive, with many carrying projected values between $200,000 and $300,000, according to the Associated General Contractors of America rundown.

The 60-permit week areawide in April follows a busy March, when the city of Waco alone issued 70 permits, the most for the month since 73 in 2008, according to Karr Ingham, an Amarillo-based economist who prepares a monthly analysis of local economic trends.

The 1,500-home Park Meadows subdivision in far western Waco and the 750-home Creekside subdivision nearby in Hewitt are generating much of the permitting traffic.

Former Toys R Us

Waco’s Toys R Us store on West Waco Drive pulled the plug on operations last year, joining every Toys R Us location in the United States.

But a lease is now pending on the 45,217-square-foot former toy store building in Waco, according to an online post by Raider Hill Advisors LLC, a New York-based real estate advisory firm helping what is left of Toys R Us get what it can for 284 properties in 46 states.

Raider Hill managing director Bryan Zabell said he could not discuss specifics but that Raider Hill may be in a position to make an announcement within 60 days.

The Raider Hill inventory includes 25 locations in Texas, counting those in Waco and Killeen, but only six remain available. Raider Hill has sold or leased the others, or has deals pending, according to the website.

Former Twin Peaks

The 7,000-square-foot former Twin Peaks and former Scotty’s Brewhouse location at Central Texas Marketplace has attracted interest from a regional seafood chain, according to Turner-Behringer Real Estate agent Clay Fuller, who is listing the building with colleague Jonathan Garza.

Fuller said a deal is close but not done with a prospect that has other locations around Texas but is not a national name.

Opened in 2014, the Twin Peaks sports bar became the scene of tragedy during a shootout between law enforcement and biker gangs on May 17, 2015, in a melee that claimed nine lives. Twin Peaks corporate pulled its franchise out of Waco, and the building languished on the real estate market, often seen wrapped in plastic. Indiana-based Scotty’s Brewhouse remodeled the site, reportedly spending more than $250,000, but closed after less than a year in business following the entity’s bankruptcy filing.

Local real estate agents often have disagreed over whether the 2015 shootout that claimed nine lives at Twin Peaks leaves a stigma that subsequent users would struggle to overcome. The building sat on the market more than two years before Indiana-based Scotty’s Brewhouse remodeled the site, with a permit estimating the renovation cost at $250,000. But Scotty’s closed amid the chain’s bankruptcy filing after less than a year in business in Waco.

Circle hotel

The digging near Waco’s traffic circle at Robinson Drive continues to pique interest, which is understandable since the site is near several restaurants, including Chip and Joanna Gaines’ Magnolia Table, Health Camp, Trujillo’s Mexican Restaurant and Rudy’s Country Store and Bar-B-Q.

But the work will not produce anything exclusively food-related.

It is site preparation for an extended-stay Hotel Element to be built by Central Texas hotelier Kenny Bhakta and his KB Hotels. Bhakta is responsible for Hotel Indigo downtown and is planning three four-story hotels in the area of Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and Taylor Street: a 132-suite Cambria Hotel, a 128-room Even hotel, and a 101-room Holiday Inn Express.

KB Hotels spokeswoman Jacquelyn Baumann said construction plans for all four properties, including Hotel Element, have been submitted to the city of Waco. Site work near the circle will continue until a building permit is secured for Element.

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