sees the building as a possible multi-use venue.
...Union Station's new owner, Jeff Sandefur, has a vision for the once-proud center of T-Town as a vital part of Texarkana's future.
Though the 44,000-square-foot structure was bought just three weeks ago, Sandefur
is already humming with ideas for this link to Texarkana's roots as a railroad town.He
sees it as a venue ripe for multi-use entertainment options.
Inspired by an urban planning group's recommendation to Texarkana Education Culture and Arts Partners, he
thinks Union Station
could help revitalize downtown by providing a market area, as well.
"From all the abundant opportunities to invest in our community, this one was too worthy to pass up," said Sandefur
, who bought the property for an undisclosed amount from Dr. Dan Bookout.
philosophy is to follow the TECAP plan for "reinventing downtown" but to adapt it for community needs.He
sees adaptive reuse as one of the ways to reinvent downtown, taking historical structures and spaces and reshaping them for the future.
"The perception for a few is that downtown is not progressing at all, never has, never will," said Sandefur
."I see it differently."
To highlight Union Station's
multi-use capability, Sandefur points out how the facility includes a restaurant, ladies retiring room, cafe, the terminal, the West Hall, office space, a warehouse and dock, a shop, and the Amtrak facilities.Sandefur
says the building is in good shape with the plumbing and most of the lighting in working order.
"All it needs is good cleaning and good tenants," said Sandefur
, noting the upstairs includes 8,000 square feet of unfinished office space.
Right now, Sandefur
is having due diligence performed to "determine the highest and best use for the building," he
The plan, ultimately, is to "implement the most appropriate approach to restoring Union Station
into a prominent community asset."
With Renaissance revival architecture and a facade similar to the downtown Post Office, Union Station
should join other significant destinations downtown such as the Perot Theatre
, Ace of Clubs House, and Regional Arts Center, said Sandefur
But as a real estate developer, Sandefur
sees the downtown purchase as one that's stable.As he
puts it, downtown will always be here.
"Like every other building downtown, it's a bargain," said Sandefur
.Investing in it is also one facet of the recent actions "percolating" in economic development across the Twin Cities, he
"But keep in mind downtown is just one tool in our community chest to attract new business and industry.As we market Texarkana, USA, as the place where business is twice as nice, we must continue to implement a balanced and comprehensive approach ... " said Sandefur
To him, other ways to foster economic development include leadership development, investment in infrastructure, educational opportunity and expanding small business.
But to revitalize Union Station
is to revive something essential to Texarkana's history.
"Historically, Union Station
was the cornerstone of our community's economic prosperity-if not the cornerstone for the region's prosperity," said Sandefur