A “conceptual” look into the future of the old Wilson building in the historic downtown district was presented to Kingsville City Hall.
A spokesperson for Texas A&M University-Kingsville introduced plans for a new Engineering Innovation Center to city officials on Monday. A demolition and subsequent building of a research center at 231 E. Kleberg Ave. has been an idea since 2013.
Chris Vera, the director of facilities, planning and construction for TAMUK, gave a brief presentation on plans the university has for a new building inside the downtown district.
“We have a lot of issues dealing with building code. Main and existing systems inside the Wilson building aren’t up to code; a lot of it has to do with ADA compliance, asbestos and hazardous material issues,” Vera told the city commission.
“Phase one” is to demolish the current Wilson building and “build a better shell of a building,” Vera said.
“The existing conditions impede new building code standards,” he said.
The new building will be built with the same red-tinged brick as the rest of the historic district. The building itself is not historic, but lies in the heart of old downtown.
Vera still wants the new building to blend and not be the “oddball” of the downtown area.
Commissioner Al Garcia asked about parking for the new building.
“A plan on Feb. 27 will be presented that has a very comprehensive parking analysis of downtown that will show where existing parking is along with proposed parking. Long term there is a plan to increase parking availability downtown; it may not be something that is right in front of the building, but none-the-less something that’s walkable,” said Jesus A. Garza, Kingsville city manager, who responded to Garcia’s question.
Vera said the university is ready to hire a contractor and begin work.
“We are absolutely close on moving forward and getting this project on the way,” he said.
The city commission will still need to approve plans. The commission will vote on moving forward at a future meeting.