Aggieville construction paused because of investor withdrawal


After 11 weeks of construction, development halted in Aggieville after an investor pulled out of the mixed-use building project.

“We had an institutional investor that opted out due to macroeconomic factors such as the crisis of the banking industry that we’re seeing unfold a little bit across the country,” TJ Vilkanskas, President of Back 9 Development, said. 

Vilkanskas said the investor pulling out of the Aggieville project is the biggest capital setback of Back 9 Development.

“With every project, we have to bring a certain amount of equity or cash to put in the project, not counting any sort of bank financing or anything along those lines,” Vilkanskas said. “We’re basically having to build up our equity or cash that’s deposited from various investors, both institutions and individuals.”

Manhattan residents, like Bella Zarate, are discouraged that the construction is on hold. 

“The construction is going to take much longer now,” Zarate, freshman in communications, said. “It just needs to get finished. It’s right in the middle of Aggieville, right where everything is, and it’s annoying how no one can drive through anywhere.”

After the construction paused, North 12th Street was opened back up for traffic.

Dennis Cook, director of the Aggieville Business Association, said the impact that construction has on Aggieville depends on how long it takes for construction to start again.

“If this is a very minor delay of a week or two weeks, we should be good to go,” Cook said. “Every day that this goes on it will become more concerning. If it goes on for months, then it would become a problem for Aggieville.” 

Cook said there’s not much the ABA can do regarding the construction hold at this time.

“This news came out last week,” Cook said. “We have a board of directors meeting on Thursday of this week, so that will be our first chance to directly discuss the situation.” 

Cook said he encourages Manhattan residents to continue to “support the businesses in Aggieville” during this time. 

Vilkanskas said the purpose of the building is to bring more jobs to Manhattan.

“The reason we designed the building the way we did was to create jobs through real estate by generating an office building,” Vilkanskas said. “It’s a speculative office and retail mixed-use building.”

Vilkanskas said despite the setback, he remains optimistic about the project.

“It’s better to take a little extra time right now to make sure we get it right and handle things appropriately than it is to rush through it and not have due diligence there,” Vilkanskas said. “It’s an unfortunate setback and there’s nobody that wishes we could keep moving right now more than I do, but right now, pausing and taking a step back is the most appropriate action to take.” 

Anderson Knight Architects, a company partnering with Back 9 Development on the project, declined to comment.