The native Corpus Christi buys the legendary 600 building and plans apartments

Corpus Christi downtown skyline doesn’t change, but one of its most iconic buildings is being reinvented this year.

The 600 building on Leopard Street was purchased in November by Wisznia Architecture and Development, a New Orleans-based company with personal ties to Corpus Christi.

COURTNEY SACCO / CALLER-TIMES The 600 building on the corner of Leopard Street and Upper Broadway Street is currently being redeveloped as an apartment with commercial space.

It is planned to build 131 apartments with modern architecture and design. The exterior will largely stay the same as the company receives historic tax credits for the federal and Texas level renovations, said Marcel Wisznia, president of the company.

Wisznia is from Corpus Christi and has built a career in New Orleans since the 1970s. However, his architect father Walter Wisznia continued to work in Sparkling City by the Sea until his death in 2004.

Walter Wisznia (as part of the Wisznia and Peterson architectural firm) designed many of the city’s most iconic buildings, including the Wells Fargo Tower (next to the 600 Building), Towers 2 and 3 on Carancahua Street, and the current Nueces Courthouse County. He also helped develop the water gardens in the SEA district.

“He’s clearly the reason I’m back in Corpus Christi and doing this project,” said Marcel Wisznia.

Michael Zamora / Caller-Times The 600 building, with its unique concrete sunscreens covering the windows, could turn into 126 residential units if everything goes according to a developer's plan.

“As I was walking back and forth on Corpus Christi to work on my parents’ estates, I saw the 600 building that I remembered from childhood,” he said. “It’s an iconic building in Corpus Christi, and my experience really made me realize and understand that it may have higher and better uses than what it was built for and is currently being used for.”

The building has been on the National Register since 2016, according to the Texas Historical Commission. Wisznia said his company had been in negotiations to buy the building since this year.

It was built in 1963 and has been the location for office suites ever since. The 21-story building is 247 feet tall and features unique windows that Wisznia refers to as the “eyelid.”

Caller File Left to right Wilson Plaza East, the 600 Building, and the Wells Fargo Building.

“The most spectacular part of this project is the views from the apartments. You can see the waterfront with the panoramic views that the building offers,” he said. “It will be unique.”

Wisznia is also funded through the city’s No. 3 Tax Increment Reinvestment Zone (which serves downtown), said Alyssa Barrera, director of the Downtown Management District.

The incentive package is a maximum of $ 2.5 million over a 10 year period based on performance such as: B. a higher property value, said Barrera.

“Corpus Christi has developed a progressive understanding and approach to the building and its impact on changing the city center,” said Marcel Wisznia.

The 600 building was built on Leopard Street in Corpus Christi in 1963.  It is 21 stories and 247 feet tall.

The company has experience developing older buildings that were previously used as offices into apartment buildings.

A recently completed project is The Pizitz, a historic building in downtown Birmingham, Alabama. The company took the 96-year-old building and turned it into modern apartments mixed with the nearby business district, a baseball park, and the University of Alabama on the Birmingham campus.

Before purchasing the building, Marcel Wisznia was encouraged by the successful construction of the Cosmopolitan Apartments on Chaparral Street.

“By taking this … building off the market and changing its use, you are helping not only this building, but all of the other office buildings in the area,” he said. “The tenants in the 600 building will populate the other buildings and increase their occupancy.”

The aim is to start construction by summer 2019.

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