Deal in the Works to Sell, Revitalize Downtown Bryan Ice House

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BRYAN, Texas It's more than 100 years old, but City of Bryan officials say it holds the key to the revitalization of Downtown North in Bryan.

The Ice House on Martin Luther King in Downtown Bryan first opened its doors in 1912. Since then, it's been an ice house, a haunted house and even a night club. For years now, it's been abandoned, but if a new deal between the city and Brazos Valley Decorative Center goes through, it could prove to be the beginning of change for the area.

"The ice house, in my opinion, is one of the crown jewels of downtown Bryan," said Bryan Mayor Jason Bienski.

Bienski said the city is working on a deal to sell the building and the land next to it to the Brazos Valley Decorative Center. The Center would then pay to revitalize the building. As part of the deal, 60 percent of the revitalized building would be used for a restaurant or some type of entertainment purposes, the other 40 percent would be used for retail.

Bienski said the ice house would become an anchor to the newly renovated north downtown area, and wold help to bring in valuable tax dollars.

"The infrastructure has been in place for several years. With the lights, the sidewalks and the new streets," said Bienski. "So this is the next step in redeveloping downtown north."

The land next to the ice house will also be purchased by the Center and be developed into a parking lot.

City officials said the request for the deal will go before council at Monday's council meeting. If approved, it's likely to be several more weeks before the details can be worked out. Once that happens, officials said the new owners would have 14 months to complete renovations.