Niche boutique shops, restaurants and loft apartments have become commonplace on Austin Avenue near the McLennan County Courthouse and the Brazos River.
Many businesses in downtown Waco have created visual interest through remodeling the facades of their spaces. Several have restaurants or retail on the ground floor and loft apartments upstairs.
Stimulating architecture and design can create interest in downtown spaces that may be ripe for renovation. This building was purchased by an architect and redesigned into apartments with his vision and style.
G & K's Hotdogs gets ready for a weekday lunch rush while set up on Austin Avenue, one of downtown Waco's busiest streets.
"The city has to be all-in because it has the most at stake. If the city is trying to pay for everything itself, it's failing to leverage this sleeping giant of investment. So it's not about how the city can provide the best quality downtown for us, it's how can the city leverage this massive private-sector potential." - Megan Henderson
Shane Turner (pictured here) and his brother Cody Turner, have taken a specific interest in developing downtown Waco, investing in high-rise buildings for residential spaces. A 2013 article in Focus Magazine named the Baylor University alumni as "two of the most sought-after property developer and construction" guys in Waco.
Their most well-known investment, however, is the historic Waco Hippodrome, built in 1914. The Turners bought the building in December 2011, began restoration work on it in April 2012 and re-opened in 2014.
The Turners tried to keep as much of the Hippodrome's original design and character in-tact during the restoration, but added a few twists, like adding tables and chairs over traditional theater seating, to give the venue flexibility. Guests can order food directly to their seat, and there's even wine and beer on tap available.
"There's still a lot to be done in Waco, but we're happy to see other people doing things here." - Shane Turner
The gourmet coffee shop by day, specialty cocktail lounge by night has something for everyone, including a roof-top patio for patrons to lounge and enjoy the downtown scenery, Cody Fergusson, chief coffee officer, said.
"When we were looking for a place, downtown was always in the picture. We could feel the energy. We wanted to be a part of it and do our part ... to bringing downtown back to life." - Cody Fergusson
The historic Waco Suspension Bridge played an important role in the growth of Waco. It connected the north and south areas of town and served as the Brazos River crossing for the Chisolm Trail.
The Washington Avenue Bridge, built in 1901, was rehabilitated in 2009.
The riverwalk area along the Brazos River in Waco is popular for jogging, fishing, kayaking and just relaxing near the water. Indian Springs Park leads to the riverwalk and is at the north end of downtown Waco.
A larger-than-life bronze sculpture by artist Robert Summers depicts cowboys and cattle on the Chisolm Trail crossing the Brazos at Waco. Public art is an important part of revitalizing a downtown area.