After four years of discussion and research, Brownwood’s new multipurpose event center is finally under construction. BRW Architects began designing the center in December 2020 and construction has recently begun in April 2022. The renderings show us three main elements of the complete space.
Currently under construction is the new concert pavilion that will take the place of the existing Ice House building on Lee Street. This structure will feature a premiere stage for large events, and a secondary stage for smaller gatherings and concerts. It can also serve as spill-over outdoor space for the larger event center. An enclosed structure will be built adjacent to the stage to contain support space, additional meeting rooms, and outdoor public restrooms.
Surrounding the concert pavilion will be two open green spaces, known as "Reunion Lawn". Stretching east will be the larger lawn. Accommodating 7,500 people, the space will be fenced, set up as a festival ground, and host to up to 16 food trucks and/or vendors. The smaller lawn will extend south. Together these open spaces will allow more flexibility for all sizes and types of events.
The multipurpose event center will be located on the corner of Baker and Greenleaf. Instead of demolishing and rebuilding from scratch, the event center will remodel the current Timmins building, preserving the rich history of our town. The aesthetic will fuse modern design elements with the building’s original industrial character. The 16,000 sq ft event center and banquet hall will be ideal for conventions, breakout activities, weddings, and a multitude of other event needs.
Brownwood’s existing coliseum has been leased to Howard Payne University who will take over operational expenses and maintenance, allowing resources and funds to funnel into the development of the new event complex.
The total construction cost will be $14,267,000 with the BMDD funding approximately 85% through economic development sales tax funds. These funds are generated by an existing ½ cent sales tax and do not come out of the city’s general fund. BMDD has allocated $7 million in cash reserves for this project and will contribute another $5 million through sales tax revenue bonds. The remaining funds will be contributed by the City of Brownwood through surplus sales tax revenues and savings in the budget from ARPA funds over the next two years. There is also $350,000 in Community Development Block Grant funds that will be allocated to the project.
This project is an exciting opportunity to positively impact Brownwood’s local economy and complement downtown revitalization efforts. The rentable multipurpose spaces will cater to a variety of indoor and outdoor events. City staff has already recruited out-of-town conferences and will continue to do so. Construction is estimated to conclude in the fall of 2023. You can follow the journey on Facebook and Instagram.