New Performing Arts Complex Replaces Old Civic Center

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MCALLEN – After 56 years it was time for a new place for the performing arts in McAllen.

The McAllen Civic Center first opened its doors in April 1960. The building was on South 10th Street.

The center served as the heart of the social life for the upper Rio Grande Valley for years. Then, the land was bought out by the same people who own La Plaza Mall.

The building was torn down, but a new place was built to take its place at the shopping center on Ware Road and the Expressway.

The McAllen Performing Arts Center was built and already has a number of Broadway shows taking the stage.

“This is the jewel of the city and really of South Texas,” Omar Rodriguez, the director of the Convention Center Complex, said. “This has gone through, I think, at least four mayors and McAllen hasn’t had a lot of mayors.”

The design of the new building was inspired by a sunset on the Rio Grande River, Rodriguez said.

“The wood paneling is all from our state tree, all this wood is pecan,” he said. “There’s not a bad seat in the house. The seats are comfortable. You got plenty of knee space, plenty of width in the chair.”

The acoustic can be changed with ease, if it’s a symphony, a play or a band.

“Tony Bennett, of course, he opened here in one of the biggest shows that we’ve had. His last song he sang a cappella. He put his microphone down and he just used the strength of his voice and it carried throughout. Everyone was just thrilled to see that. We’re bringing the best of what Broadway is touring across the United States, the best artists,” Rodriguez said.

At the entrance, they’ve kept a piece of the old civic center stage.

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