The owner of the historic Texas & Pacific warehouse on Lancaster Avenue on the southern edge of downtown has until late September to show executed loan documents for its redevelopment into a residential building or face losing more than $11 million from a special taxing district on the project.
Michael Hennig, business and community development coordinator in the city’s economic development department, gave the Lancaster Tax Increment Finance board an update the project Monday. It has been on the books to receive TIF funding since 2007. At that time, the board agreed to pay for $9.2 million in public improvements at the building, but the owner is now also owed interest.
The warehouse, built in 1931, has been owned by Ola Assem, president of Dallas-based Cleopatra Inc., since 1997. The TIF, created in 2004, agreed to the funding provided Assem show several completed “milestones,” including having construction financing for at least $35 million of the project.
Construction has never started, and over the years the TIF board agreed to four extensions with Assem. The last agreement was reached because the city had a temporary construction easement on the property for the Lamar-Hemphill street improvements.
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The city is scheduled to return the property to Assem on June 20, Hennig said. According to the last amended TIF agreement, Cleopatra would have 90 days from that date to show project financing or the TIF board can terminate its funding, he said.
Neither Assem nor Nadeem Shoukry, a senior vice president at Cleopatra and Assem’s son, could not be reached to comment Monday.
They have said they want to renovate the eight-story, 500,000-square-foot warehouse building into about 350 apartments, shops and restaurants. The warehouse has been vacant since the late 1970s.
Sandra Baker, 817-390-7727