Soon-to-be-demolished Nutty Brown music venue illegally changed landscape, H-E-B engineer tells Austin commission

The old amphitheater included illegal improvements, an engineer told Austin's Environmental Commission on Jan. 19. (Community Impact Newspaper)
The old amphitheater included illegal improvements, an engineer told Austin's Environmental Commission on Jan. 19. (Community Impact Newspaper)

The old amphitheater included illegal improvements, an engineer told Austin's Environmental Commission on Jan. 19. (Community Impact Newspaper)

An engineer working on the proposed H-E-B where the old Nutty Brown Amphitheatre stands said the longtime music venue had unpermitted improvements that affected the drainage of the area.

Engineer Joseph York, working on the H-E-B project through firm Jones and Carter, told the Austin Environmental Commission at a Jan. 19 meeting that the old amphitheater was built on 125,000 cubic yards of unpermitted fill, meaning earthen material was poured into dips in the landscape to flatten the area without permission from the city.


That illegal fill caused a disruption to the natural drainage of the area, York said. Beyond taking down the old music venue, H-E-B has also committed to restore the natural drainage of the area.

The old Nutty Brown space, with its iconic neon cowboy signage, started in the 1950s as Nutty Brown Mills, a specialty flour and candy store, according to the venue’s website. The music venue was founded in 2000.

Owner Mike Farr announced plans to relocate to Round Rock in 2014, but he faced construction and transportation development delays. Farr bought the former McNeil Park in 2018. The new $10 million Nutty Brown venue will open in 2022, according to the venue’s latest September 2021 announcement and Round Rock city documents.
By Maggie Quinlan

Reporter, Southwest Austin/Dripping Springs

Maggie joined Community Impact Newspaper as a reporter in July 2021 after a year spent covering crime, courts and politics at The Spokesman-Review in Spokane, Washington, near the border with Idaho. In Southwest Austin and Dripping Springs, Maggie covers education, business, healthcare, transportation, real estate development and nonprofits. Prior to CI, she graduated from Washington State University, where she was managing editor of the student newspaper and a section editor at her hometown newspaper based in Moscow, Idaho. Maggie dreamed of living in the Austin area for years and feels honored to serve the communities of Southwest Austin and Dripping Springs.