Brownwood Hotel owner accruing fines because of falling glass

Steve Nash
Brownwood Bulletin
The owner of the former Brownwood Hotel, pictured here at the corner of Fisk and Baker, has been assessed a $19,500 fine for hazardous conditions.

The owner of the former Brownwood Hotel is accruing civil penalties because the issue of falling glass has not been addressed, Tim Murray, director of developmental services for the City of Brownwood, said via email Thursday.

"The city continues to receive reports related to falling glass from the building," Murray said in the email. "In response, the city will close the sidewalk along Baker and Fisk around the building to divert pedestrian traffic in that area. The city is exploring options to remediate the issue of falling glass with the owner."

Brown County Appraisal District records show the current owner of the building as 200 Fisk LLC. Mail to the entity goes to a residence in Woodbridge, Virginia. The woman who lives at that address, Myrna Phelps, has declined to be interviewed by the Bulletin.

On Feb. 18, the Building and Standards Commission assessed a $19,500 fine against the owner of the vacant 12-story building to address broken windows, falling glass and unsecured entry points that allow access to the building’s interior. 

The commission issued an Administrative Enforcement Order that assessed the fine for the hazardous conditions. The commission requested “significant and substantial improvements of the conditions” within 30 days of the Feb. 18 meeting, Murray said earlier. 

If the owner showed significant improvements by the 30-day time limit, the city would  hold off on enforcing the fine. If the owner does not make significant progress, the city will enforce the fine plus an additional fine of $500 per day until improvements are made, Murray said. 

The hotel opened at the corner of Fisk and Baker in downtown Brownwood in 1930, according to browncountyhistory.org.

Joe Renfro, who owned several drug stores in town, spearheaded the building of the hotel at a cost of $600,000.

After closing as a hotel, the building was used for a time as a Howard Payne University dorm known as Sid Richardson Hall.

Still commonly referred to as the Brownwood Hotel, the building has been empty and abandoned since HPU stopped using it as a dorm in 1986.