Downtown development draws strong reaction in Orange

Orange attorney Lynwood Sanders has been watching development around the city for more than 50 years.

"I think it's an excellent idea." Sanders is a fan of a new project. "The old Southern Printers building is a sound ... building. It's well built. It'll withstand a hurricane. It's a good place."

At the old Orange Café just a couple blocks from the former Southern Printers building at 5th and Front Avenue -- many in the lunch crowd were optimistic about development of the building and the future of downtown. A company called "Brazos Urban" will renovate the building for retail and living spaces in the hopes of coaxing more people downtown.

On August 5th, the Orange city council approved the estimated $957,000 project on a 6-1 vote.

Many residents out and about Tuesday agree with that vote.

Orange native Lee Harris said, "A little injection of life probably won't hurt anything, as long as there's some values, as long as we'll receive some value from that."

Even in approving the deal, some council members saw reason to be skeptical. Some Orange residents feel the same.

"I don't understand why the city... Or how the city can give tax money to a private investor to renovate a building that's really not going to put ... Not going to make a lot of jobs," said Farmer's Mercantile manager, Dan Harris Jr. "I love the idea, of renovating the building, I just don't think we need to do it with tax payer money."


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