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Saturday, June 15, 2024 at 12:10 PM

Historic building raises the bar

Historic building raises the bar

DOWNTOWN RENOVATION, INVESTMENT

One of downtown Taylor’s most successfully-renovated buildings is up for sale, and the $15 million listing price may have some people scratching their heads.

“One thing that I know, Taylor building owners are going to lose their minds when they see the price,” said Judy Blundell, who owns the connected McCrory-Timmerman and Titsworth buildings with long-term partner Mark Nibbelink. Blundell said she has had investors and real estate agents telling her she could get $20 million or more.

“From an investor’s point of view, I have a very strong conviction for always leaving room for the next person to succeed. We put on a fair price. The building is so well-tenanted and the tenants are successful,” she said.

Tenants of the building complex at 201 N. Main and Second streets include Second Street Station restaurant, Good Strangers coffee shop, the Taylor Economic Development Corp and Ancira Salsa, among others. There are also four residential lofts and a live/work space.

Originally two separate buildings, Blundell says she removed a connecting wall to give the lofts and premium offices in the McCrory-Timmerman building access to the Titsworth’s covered parking, creating effectively one large building.

As of April 2024, the Taylor Main Street property business report shows the combined structures are listed at $15,750,000 or $341 per square foot. That is quite a bit higher than other downtown buildings have sold for. The same report shows The Threadgill Building at 401 N. Main selling at $283.88 per square foot.

“It’s the most expensive building on the market, but most of the buildings downtown have not been renovated to the level we are,” Blundell said. “We could get more for it but neither of us are property managers. We like to bring an old building back to life and do it to the platinum level.”

For Blundell and Nibbelink, the project was a labor of love.

“We were able to purchase it from Mr. Timmerman because it had been empty for years and he wanted to sell to someone who would do right by it and not dishonor its history. Downtown was quite empty at this time and we stepped in and ultimately ended up doing a much larger project, but it’s been good and brought a lot of businesses and people into the downtown area,” said Blundell.

The partners bought the building in 2013 for $350,000, then bought the adjoining Titsworth building in 2014. The complete renovation took most of a decade due in part to the neglected condition.

“I drew up and designed what the buildings would look like. We were able to use 97% local tradesman who lived within 20 miles of Taylor. Our electricians, sheetrock companies, bricklayers, painters, glaziers were almost all local. It put a lot of people to work and gave them a project to be proud of, I hope,” Blundell said.

The property owner is an artist by trade, working in conceptual design and large-scale oil paintings. She says she bought the building with the idea of growing her children’s inheritance, but it has also given her an opportunity to showcase her own creativity.

The buildings are large, 43,890 square feet combined, but only 30,834 square feet is in rentable space. The rest is devoted to masterpiece touches such as sweeping ceilings, a huge foyer art gallery and grand entrances.

The lofts range from 1,200 square feet to about 2,500 square feet, and Blundell describes them as “stunning.”

“They’ve got real hardwood floors, 16-foot ceilings, vacuum- sealed windows with remote-controlled drop blinds, walk-in wardrobes, one has a hot tub...they’re just really lovely and spacious with great light,” she said.

Blundell believes that the care she and partner Nibbelink put into this project has helped stimulate interest in downtown renovation. Their building was the first to embrace adding in fire suppression, and the partners have helped their tenants through tough times including rent relief during the pandemic.

“We have always taken care of our tenants and made sure they have a good leg to stand on,” Blundell said. “We’re in an unusual and rare position where we can afford to do that. Our motive isn’t just to make a lot of money and run. I think it’s lifted the level for a lot of other buildings to give people a safe place to live and a good place to work.”

She believes that Taylor investors are becoming more sophisticated, and while some may still be “shortsighted,” many are starting to realize what is coming to Taylor in the wake of the giant Samsung Austin Semiconductor plant.

“The next wave of what’s coming into Taylor, the investors coming in now, tend to have a different understanding of real estate development. They won’t try to cut corners. They’ll see the value in creating something of quality,” she said.

Our motive isn’t just to make a lot of money and run. I think it’s lifted the level for a lot of other buildings to give people a safe place to live and a good place to work.”

-Judy Blundell, one of the owners of the McCrory-Timmerman and Titsworth buildings


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