A new 230,000-square-foot multipurpose facility dubbed the Fort Bend Epicenter complex will soon be erected in Fort Bend County.

Fort Bend County commissioners at their Feb. 23 meeting unanimously approved an advanced funding resolution for the purchase of approximately 51 acres of land that will be used for the development of the project, something that has been talked about for several years, Precinct 1 Commissioner Vincent Morales said. The move authorized the county auditor, county attorney and county judge to take all necessary actions to purchase the property for the facility, which could be used as a spot for trade shows and sporting events, could act as a large-scale shelter for county residents in an emergency and more. The 230,000 square foot facility will be constructed on a 51.75-acre site near the southwest corner of US 59/ I-69 and State Highway 36 in Rosenberg.

“This will be something that will be a big benefit for Fort Bend County and its residents,” Morales said.

The county several years ago hired Convention Sports and Leisure, an advisory and planning firm, to determine the feasibility of a multipurpose facility near the fairgrounds, Precinct 2 Commissioner Grady Prestage said. An exact location for the facility was not specified during the Feb. 23 meeting.

The results of the study were delivered in 2018 and were revised in 2019 to consider an expanded scope, Prestage said. In early 2020, a committee, which included Morales and Prestage, was formed to review the results and help determine the need for the facility, Prestage said.

The study results “showed great demand for the facility,” he said.

“It could be a great benefit to the county as an economic engine as well as an emergency command center, mega shelter and a warming center,” Prestage said.

The approximately 51-acre site will provide opportunities for future expansion, Prestage said, such as the development of retail stores, restaurants and hotels.

The recommendation approved at the Feb. 23 meeting called for privatized public development, Prestage said, meaning the county will lease the property to a development entity, which will then construct the project and lease the building to the county. The county will then retain ownership of the land, he said, and will own the building when the debt on the development is paid.

The total development cost, including the cost of the land, is approximately $120 million, Prestage said. The project is slated for completion in the fourth quarter of 2022.

“This is definitely going to be a project that many will enjoy, many generations will enjoy, for the future,” Morales said.