Conroe considers feasibility of new performing arts center

A third party feasibility study recommends a new 1,200 -seat performing arts center in Conroe.

A third party feasibility study recommends a new 1,200 -seat performing arts center in Conroe.

Updated 10:05 a.m. Sept. 13: The story originally said the theater will seat 12,000.




Following ongoing discussions last year about needing to assess the feasibility of building a new performing arts center, the city of Conroe has received details on what the project might entail and cost.

Garfield Public Private President Greg Garfield presented a feasibility study for a new performance arts center at the Sept. 11 Conroe City Council workshop, based on feedback from local arts groups. The report—which identified possible cost, location, size and scope of the project—was conducted by Garfield Public Private, Schuler Shook Theater Consultants and SMG-Performing Arts Group.

The study suggests the most profitable venue option would be a 1,200-seat theater at three possible locations: The northwest quadrant of I-45 and FM 3083, the Spirit of Texas Plaza and Grand Central Park, Garfield said.

“You’ve got some great [performing arts] facilities here … but they’ve got some limitations that are limiting the arts group from growing their audience and growing their programming,” he said. “So the need is indicated for a new performing arts center to help compliment this arts community.”

Local theater and performing arts groups—including Christian Youth Theater, Stage Right and Conroe Live—were interviewed for the report, and many indicated they would use the facility, Garfield said. The report recommended a facility with a 1,200-seat main performance hall, an 8,000-sq.-ft. multipurpose room and on-site storage space.

“We’re talking about a state-of-the-art, new, first-class, well-equipped facility that can be scaled for various production sizes,” he said. “It’s up to Conroe when and if you decide to proceed with a performing arts center, but our philosophy is you generally don’t build a church for Easter Sunday.”

The development could cost between $66 million-$89 million—a number that drew murmurs of shock from council members—or $720 per square foot on the low end.

In addition to development costs, the venue would need an estimated contributed income of $300,000 the first year, which would decline to about $116,000 in the fifth year as activity and profits ramped up.

“You need to understand that—like most other performing arts centers—in addition to finding a way to pay for the development costs, there’s probably going to be a need for some contributed income or subsidy from the city,” Garfield said.

Garfield also discussed the need to bring more restaurants and shops to Conroe to compliment a new performing arts center.

“You want economic development—you don’t want people coming right before the show, parking right in front of theatre, walking in the theater and going home,” he said. “Ideally, you’d like them coming in and parking within several blocks of the theater … stopping at a bar to have a drink, stopping at a restaurant after the show.”

Council members asked Garfield questions about the details and costs of the performing arts center but did not indicate when or if they might pursue the project.
By Eva Vigh
Eva Vigh joined Community Impact Newspaper in 2018 as a reporter for Spring and Klein. Prior to this position, she covered upstream oil and gas news for a drilling contractors' association.


MOST RECENT

Conroe ISD will distribute meals until the end of June. (Andy Li/Community Impact Newspaper)
Conroe ISD to continue meal distributions through June

The district will offer meal pickups Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10 a.m.-noon through June.

Lone Star College plans to partially open 26 buildings beginning June 1. (Andrew Christman/Community Impact Newspaper)
Lone Star College System discusses reopening plan for June 1

Lone Star College plans to partially open 26 of its buildings June 1, prioritizing health science buildings.

Outdoor venues in all Texas counties will be permitted to operate at up to 25% capacity starting May 31. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Spectators to be welcomed back to Texas outdoor sporting events May 31 at 25% of venue capacity

Venue owners must operate under guidelines that facilitate appropriate social distancing.

Montgomery County has more physicians and registered nurses per 100,000 residents than the nearby Harris County. (Community Impact Newspaper staff)
Health Care Snapshot 2020: Montgomery County improves state ranking for number of physicians, registered nurses

Montgomery County has more physicians and registered nurses per 100,000 residents than nearby Harris County, according to 2019 data from Texas Health and Human Services.

In terms of county health in 2020, Montgomery County ranked among the top 15 on length of life and quality of life.
Health Care Snapshot 2020: Montgomery County ranks in top 10 in Texas for health outcomes

In 2020 county health rankings, Montgomery County ranked among the top 15 counties in Texas in the length of life and quality of life categories.

A homestead exemption removes part of the value of a property from taxation and lowers taxes. (Andy Li/Community Impact Newspaper)
Conroe City Council approves 2.5% homestead exemption, saving owners of $100,000 homes $10.93 per year

Under a 20% homestead exemption, the city could lose a little over $3 million per year. Under a 2.5% exemption, the city could see a loss of $437,000 per year.

Volunteers pack boxes of food at the Montgomery County Food Bank. (Courtesy Montgomery County Food Bank)
Montgomery County nonprofits receive $235,000 through Greater Houston COVID-19 Recovery Fund

The funding was part of an $8.2 million distribution to dozens of nonprofits in the region announced May 28.

Students enrolled in the University of Houston College of Nursing can take classes at the Sugar Land campus. (Claire Shoop/Community Impact Newspaper)
Q&A: UH College of Nursing dean reflects on how coronavirus has affected education, profession

Kathryn Tart, dean of the University of Houston’s College of Nursing, spoke with Community Impact Newspaper about how the novel coronavirus is changing the way the university is educating nursing students.

Houston Methodist researchers conducted a 25-patient trial in March and April to examine the safety of convalescent plasma transfusions as a possible treatment for COVID-19. (Courtesy Houston Methodist)
Greater Houston-area health systems examine plasma transfusion as possible COVID-19 treatment

The experimental therapy involves the transfer of plasma from recovered COVID-19 patients to those who are currently symptomatic.

Each eligible child will receive $285 in benefits. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Some Texas students eligible for one-time federal benefit to aid with food purchases

Texas received approval from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to provide more than $1 billion in pandemic food benefits.

Montgomery County commissioners criticized the lawsuit between Conroe Mayor Toby Powell and two tax officials of the county. (Courtesy Fotolia)
Montgomery County commissioners criticize Conroe Mayor Powell's lawsuit against tax officials

Montgomery County Precinct 1 Commissioner Mike Meador called the lawsuit a “political posturing move.”