Sugar Land City Council has selected Houston-based builder Linbeck Group as the new construction manager at risk, or CMAR, for the city’s $83.6 million Performing Arts Center. The center will be on a nearly 40-acre property in the Telfair commercial district along Hwy. 59 and University Boulevard.

“In the past few months, we have made a lot of progress in getting to the 40 percent mark for the design development plans,” city engineer Chris Steubing said. “The design team continues to look at refining the details as we move forward.”

Linbeck Group was awarded a $98,500 contract for pre-construction services, which includes cost estimation and budget consultation along with scheduling, planning and general coordination for the project. The company’s past projects include Reliant Stadium in Houston and the Bill and Margo Winspear Opera House in Dallas.

Designs for the Performing Arts Center are underway and are expected to be completed in February or March 2014. Construction of the center is expected to break ground summer 2014 and take an estimated 639 calendar days.

“We will continue moving forward with the design development process,” Steubing said. “There are a number of decisions coming up on some major components.”

The process for developing the Performing Arts Center began in 2008 following voters’ approval of the city’s financing tools that coincided with Sugar Land’s goal of creating a self-sustaining venue.

In July 2013, City Council approved a development agreement with ACE Theatrical Group, including the design, development and construction of the center. ACE plans to make a $10-million equity contribution toward the project. The remaining balance will be funded through a portion of the city’s sales tax revenues reserved for economic development projects as well as a portion of the hotel occupancy tax funds allocated for tourism purposes. Revenues from the city’s general fund will not be used.

Initial designs for the center were provided by Martinez & Johnson Architects, a Washington D.C.-based firm, and were approved by council in September 2013. The designs include a lobby area and outdoor plaza separated by a large curved glass wall stretching across the front of the building as well as an adjustable 6,500-seat auditorium.

“[The center] will serve as an iconic element for the entire city,” said Gary Martinez, principal with Martinez & Johnson Architects. “We looked for something that was different than what is typically seen here.”


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