The Chip and Joanna Gaines Empire continues to grow.

McLennan County Commissioners approved a $1.1 million dollar deal with Magnolia for the Grand Karem Shrine Building, which opened in 1928.

For as long as Olive Branch Express has been open, the building across the street has been vacant. Now things are different, with Magnolia under contract to buy it from McLennan County.

“We are excited. We are very excited to see what they do with it. We want to know what they have planned for Waco, and we know that they are expanding. So, that’s pretty exciting for us,” says Olive Branch Express Manager Gabriela Hill.

Once the deal goes through, the Gaines will have the Magnolia Silos, Magnolia Table and the Karem Shrine Building. However, there is no word yet on what their plans are.

Karem Shrine is a three-story building featuring a ballroom big enough to fit more than 100 people inside.

“We think that there is so much potential to the building. I think it needs a lot of work,” Hill continues.

Hill is hoping it’s a bed and breakfast.

“Traffic has definitely changed a lot. A lot of people are flowing through downtown, and you can definitely see the difference, you know, even from two to three years ago to now. It’s a very vast difference. Every project that Chip and Joanna have had for Waco has been beautiful, so we all love it,” Hill explains.

Hill also says the Gaines have really changed how people view Waco.

“It’s making Waco been seen as something great. Like a place you want to go. Not just think of, you know, bad things or David Koresh. You hear so much negative about so many little towns, and it’s making our little town seem like a homey place you want to visit,” Hill describes.

A media spokesperson with Magnolia says any information or updates about upcoming Magnolia projects will be announced on their official channels.