Brownwood City Council members took a step Tuesday that could lead to the renovation of a Brownwood icon for development — the old multi-story Brownwood Hotel at the corner of Fisk and Baker.

Council members ratified earlier action by the Brownwood Municipal Development District (BMDD) board in approving a feasibility study, to be conducted by Houston-based hotel consultant Randy McCaslin, at a cost of $30,000 plus out-of-pocket expenses of up to $5,000.

Ray Tipton, executive director of the BMDD, told council members the BMDD received a proposal at the BMDD’s request to conduct the study. A developer has expressed interest in the property and the study is a “needed first step” in the process of working with the developer, Tipton said. He did not name the developer.

Staff has talked to the hotel’s owner, who has also requested the study and given consent to move forward, Tipton told council members.

“What we want to do is have this feasibility study conducted, find out if the project’s feasible and to what degree … and see if the developer wants to do the project,” Tipton said. “It’s always been everybody’s dream locally — ‘let’s do something with the Brownwood Hotel.’ I hear that time and again.

“I think, for some reason, if it’s not feasible for this developer, we will have a tool which is a necessary first step in getting this project done." 

With the study, the city and BMDD will own the information and can use it to recruit investors and developers, Tipton said. It will be similar to retail market studies used in the past to help recruit new businesses, Tipton told council members.

McCaslin is well known for moving large projects forward with this type of study and has completed studies for projects in several Texas cities, Tipton said. McCaslin has also been involved in several historic hotel renovation projects across the state.

“There’s a lot of value in having somebody that know this type of business, and also has to connections to bring in any potential developers,” Tipton told council members.

A large amount of incentives on federal and state level is available for hotel renovation projects, Tipton said.