Updated: 05/13/2014 6:27 PM
Created: 05/13/2014 6:26 PM KAALtv.com
By: Dan Conradt
(ABC 6 NEWS) -- It's a parcel of land just off downtown Austin's north main street that has been standing empty for five years. But it's about to become a tourist destination.
"Bringing the SPAM Museum to main street, into the heart of the community is a clear reflection of confidence in the future of downtown Austin," said Sarah Douty of the Austin Main Street Project.
By early next year, work is expected to be underway on Austin's new SPAM museum.
"The downtown of Austin is something that can truly set Austin apart," Hormel Foods President and CEO Jeffrey Ettinger told a group gathered under a tent on the site of the new museum Tuesday afternoon. “We like the fact that first of all it was on the part of main street where most of downtown has its vibrancy.”
The museum will be built in an area where fire destroyed several downtown businesses in January of 2009.
"The silver lining was the way it really rallied a whoel community to get together and ream about the possibilities," said Sarah Douty of the Austin Main Street Project.
"It means increased energy, increased traffic, increased visibility for the downtown businesses, which is very exciting," said Lindsay Kepper, who owns a yoga studio across Main Street from the new museum
“We'll pluck out certain parts of the current museum that are still highly popular, but we'll augment that with some new areas as well," Hormel’s Jeffrey Ettinger told ABC6. “We don't have a final design, so we're not in a position to b able to share that with the group yet.
And as for the existing museum:
"We expect to be able to kind of reclaim that space for office space," Jeffrey Ettinger said. “We've added 200 corporate positions to the community since the year 2005."
"It's going to have a huge impact on downtown and our community as a whole" said Laura Helle of Austin Vision 2020.
“Our goal is t have the facility open by the spring of 2016," Hormel’s Jeffrey Ettinger said. “That will be the 125th anniversary of the Hormel foods corporation."