September 5, 2019

A downtown Temple landmark will get a new look as renovations are planned. Renovations of the old SPJST Building were the main topic of a Thursday Coffee Talk meeting at Benny’s Ristorante Italiano in downtown Temple. Both the developer and architect of the project addressed the crowd. “We want to start something this year for sure, that is guaranteed,” Velan Marimutha, VKDM Investments developer, said. “This is not just a cookie-cutter residential living that I am trying to create. When you do a downtown development, it is important that you are creating a lifestyle.”

Both Marimuthu and architect Tanya Reed talked about the proposed changes that will be made to the former SPJST Building, also called the Professional Building. The planned changes will transform the empty building into a mixed-used development with residential and retail spaces. The first floor will house two retail stores while apartments will make up the remaining floors. In order to serve future residents in the building, and others in the area, Marimuthu and Reed hope for one of the two storefronts on the first floor to become a small grocery outlet. The building’s apartments will take up the second through sixth floors while the basement and rooftop will have amenities for residents living in the building. The rooftop will have a water feature and wet bar, while the basement is expected to have workout areas.

“We are going to have 18 to 20 units, with some rooftop amenities,” Marimuthu said. “We definitely have a vision on the rooftop for what we are going to do but, since it is a historical building, you can only do so much.” Reed was happy to see that Temple had decided to construct a new parking garage near the soon-to-be apartment building, instead of forcing residents to walk the current 1½ blocks to the closest parking lot. The building developers and city staff do plan on partnering so apartment residents will be able to have parking spaces once the garage opens. Work for the project is expected to take around 18 months to complete, with the expected start date proposed for sometime in October.