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Renovations to iconic Harlingen building aims to bring more people downtown

An iconic downtown Harlingen office building will soon have a new look.

An iconic downtown Harlingen office building will soon have a new look.

The process to revitalize the 80 year-old Baxter Building has taken nearly two years, and now, Harlingen officials say the building will bring more people to downtown.

At one time it was the tallest building in the Valley. Soon, the Baxter Building in Harlingen will no longer be an eyesore.

"We have a cleaner Harlingen, a more prosperous Harlingen," said Harlingen Mayor Chris Boswell.

Mayor Boswell says that the building's restoration is part of a larger project to attract more people to downtown. City officials hope the building's $5.5 million renovation will attract people to stay and live in the downtown area.

"How were we going to get this nine-story building that's kind of a funny configuration, and find somebody that will be willing to do something and take it on?" Boswell said.

The building was built in 1927 and will soon house 24 mixed-income apartments. The city first entered into an agreement with MRE Capital in 2015 as part of the city's nearly decade-long efforts to revitalize the downtown area.

The building's owners were able to get tax credits from the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs for $3 million in tax credits last September.

Harlingen resident Brian Oliver has noticed the overall changes in the downtown area.

"I notice there are more shops down here and it’s kind of a fun place to hang out," Oliver said.

Mayor Boswell hopes that those that frequent downtown will also want to live there, as well.

During the building’s renovation, South A St. will be blocked off from traffic. City officials say the building will completed by May 2019.

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