Tax Credit Program Highlight: Simon Theater

Brenham, Washington County



Listed in National Register as part of Downtown Brenham Historic District

Historic Use

Theater, ballroom, and retail spaces

Current Use

Conference center, rental hall, county visitor center

Total Rehabilitation Cost


Qualified Rehabilitation Expenses


Date Certified

December 21, 2015


Also certified for Federal Rehabilitation Tax Credits.


The Simon Theater was constructed in 1925 as a movie house and vaudeville theater, with attached ballroom and retail shops. The building was designed by Houston architect Alfred C. Finn, best known as the architect of the San Jacinto Monument, and is believed to be the only surviving theater designed by him. The theater closed decades ago and the building has since served as a grocery store, restaurant, and apartments, but was not properly maintained.

Rehabilitation Project

The dilapidated building was purchased in 2003 by a nonprofit associated with Brenham’s Main Street program. That group undertook basic exterior repairs before forming a for-profit entity in order to take advantage of the tax credit programs. They undertook rehabilitation of the rest of the building between 2012 and 2015. Work included replacement of missing historic storefronts, windows, theater lobby and ticket booth, theater sign and canopy, restoration of interior plaster ornament, addition of passenger and service elevators, kitchen, new theater seating, and mechanical, electrical, and plumbing systems.

Photo Gallery

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