Entrepreneur and developer Jeff Tucker of May, owner of the former Weakley-Watson Sporting Goods building on Fisk Street, said he and hired workers have started demolition on the add-on portion on the back of the building.
Tucker revealed some of his plans for the building, which include tearing down the add-on portion that was built in the 1940s, and creating a 10,000-square-foot outdoor venue. The original rock building, which was built in the 1880s, will remain and will be renovated, Tucker said.
Tucker also said a business will operate in the building. He declined to reveal the nature of the business but said that announcement will be made later.
“We’ve just been demoing the portion of the (add-on) property we can get to right now,” Tucker said Friday, taking a break from his demolition work. “We’ve got an abatement crew coming in here next week, so we’ve got to get an abatement done, and then we’re going to start on the large portion, which is about 10,200 square feet.
“What we’re going to create from the actual demo will be about a 10,000-square-foot outdoor venue. It’s going to be a real lovely outdoor setting.”
The venue will include a “nice aesthetic privacy fence” and landscaping, Tucker said.
A “full renovation” of the original 1880s-portion of the building will take it “back to what the original building used to look like,” Tucker said. The renovation will include new light fixtures, new floors and the opening up of now-closed archways, he said.
“Once it’s sparkling and clean and has everything in it that it needs for code, and the city’s happy and I’m happy, then we’ll bring our business in,” Tucker said. “I think Brownwood’s going to be very excited about what we’re doing. We’re going to be able to hire quite a few people here for jobs.”
Asked about a potential time line, Tucker said he’s not in a hurry. “Buildings like this are really a labor of love,” Tucker said. “You’ve got to take your time with an old structure. You actually find things you want to reuse. We’ve been finding artifacts as we go along, and we want to reuse them and re-purpose them in the building.”
Tucker also said the building will include a room that is “an homage to Weakley-Watson from 1876 to today.”
He said the building contains “a wealth of things that are true history.”
A former Fort Worth firefighter, Tucker lives on a ranch near May with his family. He has a global Cross Fit gymnastics business and appeared last year on the Discovery Channel’s survival series “Darkness.”
Tucker said he is from Palo Pinto County, and his wife, Tracy, is from Canyon. The family has been in Brown County for about six years.
“When Tracy and I moved out here from Fort Worth, we wanted to get back to small town Americana,” Tucker said in an earlier interview. “When she retired from TCU, she was the assistant dean of students there. I had developed a couple of successful businesses there, but we were just ready for a shift and wanted to bring our kids to where our roots were.”