In December, The Austin Club purchased the historic Millett Opera House, bringing to reality the club’s dream of owning its clubhouse.
After nine years of discussions, meetings and negotiations, The Austin (Texas) Club purchased the historic Millett Opera House in December 2017, bringing to reality the club’s dream of privately owning its clubhouse, says Ken Richardson, CCM, CCE, General Manager and COO.
The Austin Club was founded in 1949 and began using the historic facility as its clubhouse in 1980 (with renovations beginning in 1978), after signing a 50-year lease. The Opera House was originally built in 1878 as a local theater, a role it had for 20 years before the state opted in 1889 to use the facility, which was the largest building in Austin at the time, as a temporary center of government while what now stands as the current state capitol building was still under construction.
Since then, the building has been converted into a skating rink, acted as household storage space, served as headquarters for a printing and office-supply company, and was the home of the Austin Independent School District.
Working with The Foundation for the Preservation of The Historic Millett Opera House, the club purchased the 20,000-sq. ft. building, with the membership voting unanimously in favor.
“While numerous city clubs are closing their doors nationwide due to various factors, including escalating rent costs, The Austin Club will no longer have that worry and will always have a place to call home,” Richardson says. “Not just any place, but a theater and former state capitol building—how cool is that?”