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Developers eye redevelopment for Katy Depot

Staff Writer
Herald Democrat
The Katy Depot was recently purchased by a developer with interest in revitalizing the former train hub.

For decades, the Katy Depot has been a landmark and constant figure in the streetscape of downtown Denison. Over the years, it has had many roles ranging from a boomtown train depot in the late 19th century to an event and office complex.

Now, one of Denison’s oldest perennial landmarks may see new life under new management.

Real Estate Investor Marcus Patrinicola announced last week that he has closed on the purchase of the depot building and plans to revitalize it with new dining, retail and entertainment options.

“There is still a lot more that needs to be done to solidify the plans, but overarching concept is that we are going to leverage the momentum that we see in Denison and the funds being used to revitalize Main Street,” Patrinicola said. “How we are going to do that is by using one of it’s anchor properties as just that: an anchor property.”

Patrinicola referred to the D3 project, also known as Designing Downtown Denison, which involves a redesign and overhaul of much of Main Street’s streetscape, with the hope of revitalizing the district.

The first phase of the project will include the 100 block of E. Main Street where the depot sits.

Patrinicola became acquainted with Denison’s former train depot when he came to the city about three years ago, and purchased a building there two years ago.

“It reminded me of many of those east coast downtowns that I’ve run into,” he said. “They were in decline ... but you go back now and a lot of the parking spots are occupied, and a lot of arts and crafts are taking place. It is a good time to be in Denison.”

Patrinicola declined to comment on the price of the restoration project, but said that the interior of the building will need work. The ultimate goal will be to make “it a place where any retail store owner can look and say, ’This is where I want to be. ’ ”

“There are areas that have been better maintained — maybe not well maintained, but better maintained,” he said.

Current plans for the project include updating the interior to have modern amenities while keeping the historic feel and nature of the site in tact.

“It will have a historic designation before all of this is said and done,” he said.

The first focus will be on bottom floor which will be primarily retail oriented, Patrinicola said. Work on the upper floors will come once this is completed.

“I literally see it as an anchor property,” he said. “If we do this right, we should have enough options there for entertainment, dining or retail to where people will say, ”Hey, let’s go to the end of the street.“

Currently, the time frame for the first phase of improvements is about 18 months, he said.

Denison Development Alliance President Tony Kaai confirmed that the DDA is exploring and discussing possible incentives for the project, but noted that none have been formalized at this time.

With regard to the DDA itself, Kaai said the DDA has programs for facade improvement and another that was added this year they would assist with the installation of sprinkler systems in downtown buildings.

Other incentives could be possible through the non-profit Denison Development Foundation or the city itself.

Michael Hutchins is the local government reporter for the Herald Democrat. He can be reached at mhutchins@heralddemocrat.com.