Waco considers making ALICO building a local historic landmark

Waco considers making ALICO building a local historic landmark
Posted at 11:24 AM, Jun 23, 2017
and last updated 2017-06-23 19:40:18-04

The Waco City Council conducted the first public hearing to consider an ordinance designating the ALICO building as a historic landmark property this week.

The 22-story ALICO, Amicable Life Insurance Company, building in Downtown Waco, was built in 1911. 

"It was built starting in 1910. It was opened by 1911. So, less than a year we went from ground to 22 stories above the city. The foundations are sunk 40 feet into the ground. Incredibly deep, incredibly safe," Eric Ames, a local historian, said. "It was a really impressive structure for 1910-1911. It had the best elevators you could buy. It had marble and bronze and  high-end furnishings inside."

The building withstood the 1953 Waco tornado.

"It's gone through a lot and it's stood tall. So I think the fact that it is a good example of the architectural style of when it was built, and it's been in use for over a 100 years now, that's why it's achieved that legendary status here in Waco," Ames said.

The building was recorded as a Texas Historic Landmark in 1982. It was also added to the National Register of Historic Places under the Waco Downtown Historic District in 2012.

On a local level, it has not been officially designated as a historical landmark. 

City of Waco Senior Planner Beatriz Wharton said the way the historical landmark ordinance is currently, the process is on a volunteer basis.

"So the property owners would need to apply for it," Wharton said. "The local designation does regulate any renovations to the exterior [of the building] and then it would also qualify it for a local tax exemption through the city."

Tim Payne with the American-Amicable Group, sent News Channel 25 a statement about the application saying:

"American Amicable stakeholders take pride in the ALICO building and believe it represents a large piece of not only the Company’s history, strength and stability, but also the City of Waco’s.  It has been a landmark for many years, regardless of any designations.  When it came to our attention in recent months that the building was not currently registered with the City of Waco and its historic landmark commission, we felt it would be appropriate to remedy that by applying for designation to make it an official landmark for Wacoans.  The Waco designation not only properly documents the building’s significance, but will help in its preservation in the future by making it eligible for incentives to properly repair, restore, and maintain it.  The ALICO is already properly registered with the Texas Historic Commission, and the National Park Service (by way of Waco’s National Register Historic District)."

The second reading of the ordinance will take place on July 18.

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