Texas Business reports: WACO—Heisman Trophy winner Robert Griffin is now with the Washington Redskins, but his play over the last season continues to shift land values and real estate projects in the city of Waco. The Baylor University Board of Regents voted unanimously to move forward with construction of the University's $250 million football stadium complex, pending a favorable final vote by Waco's City Council on Aug. 7.
At a Waco council meeting July 17, the council voted unanimously in support of a $35 million public contribution which was endorsed without dissent earlier this month by the downtown Tax Increment Financing (TIF) Zone board.
The council will take the second of two required votes next month and is expected to affirm its original vote at that time.
The TIF funds would cover a portion of public infrastructure around the stadium, such as roads, construction of a pedestrian bridge to provide access across the Brazos River, development of a new marina, the relocation of sewer and electric transmission lines, and water, sewer and drainage facilities to serve the site.
“We are grateful for the unanimous support of the TIF board and Waco City Council,” said Baylor regent chair Richard Willis in a prepared statement. “The Baylor Stadium complex will be a tremendous asset for both Baylor and the greater Waco community. We're proud to be partnering with the city in this remarkable project.”
Since March, the university has received three major gifts for Baylor Stadium from alumni Elizabeth and Drayton McLane Jr.; Sheridan and John Eddie Williams Jr.; and Sheila and Walter Umphrey.
A successful fundraising campaign this spring and summer, along with approved TIF funding and between $100 to $120 million in Baylor-issued bonds, will allow construction to begin this fall and the stadium complex to be completed in fall 2014.
Baylor played its first football game on campus in 1899 but has played in an off-campus stadium since 1936 and in Floyd Casey Stadium, its current home, since 1950.
“The momentum that has formed around the football stadium and community events complex is spectacular,” said Baylor president Ken Starr in a statement. “We are humbled that our vision for this facility has been embraced so enthusiastically by generous and dedicated Baylor alumni, and our faithful partners in the city. The project has captured the imagination of those who can envision the transformative effect that something of this significance can have on our University and on our community. We have every expectation of continued fundraising success and a favorable vote on Aug. 7, given the strong support already demonstrated by our alumni, local leaders and community members.”
Baylor Stadium is expected to be built on a 93-acre site at the intersection of Interstate 35, one of the nation's busiest highways, and the Brazos River, the longest waterway in the state of Texas. The stadium will hold 45,000 spectators, with the flexibility to expand to 55,000, and will feature a bridge crossing the Brazos connecting the stadium to the campus.
Baylor also announced the contractor for the Baylor Stadium project is a partnership between Austin Commercial-Flintco LLC. The companies have worked on such Big 12 football facilities as Oklahoma State's Boone Pickens Stadium, Oklahoma's Gaylord Family Memorial Stadium and TCU's Amon G. Carter Stadium. The architect for the project is Kansas City, Mo.-based Populous, which has designed several stadiums, including Yankee Stadium and the new football stadium at the University of Minnesota.