Former Matera Paper building ready for new life

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ABILENE, Texas (KTAB) – It’s been nearly six years since the Matera Paper building burned down, and in that time, the property on South First has remained in limbo, waiting for someone to do something with this piece of the SODA – South of Downtown Abilene – District.
 
That day has finally come, as developer Tim Smith has purchased this empty hole in the ground. He doesn’t know what’s going to be taking shape there, but he promises it will be better than what’s currently there.
 
Smith says he’s wanted this property to be something more for some time now. “I would eyeball this property, thinking, ‘Man, somebody needs to do something with all that rubble.’ Just started dreaming and wishing and here we are.”

There are challenges ahead, but there have already been challenges to overcome prior to this point.
 
John Hill, broker for Barnett & Hill, says that marketing this unique property had some unique challenges. He goes through the list: “The city viewed this as something to be condemned. There was a condemnation suit that was pending against this property, there were some property taxes. So as a person looks at this initially, there are some things to scare them off.”
 
Smith says that there are a number of directions the project could take, suggesting a sunken garden or townhomes. He also mentions that he wants to acknowledge the long history associated with the space.
 
Hill is confident that no matter what happens, it’s going to be great. He says, “Tim’s imagination, when it comes together with his construction savvy and his ability to take on a project, it’s going to be something we’ll all love.”

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