Cameron County finds new home

BROWNSVILLE — Cameron County has begun the architecture process to transform the old Wells Fargo Building in downtown Brownsville into a spacious home for departments sorely in need of it.

The bank was purchased in late February for $2.3 million after county commissioners saw an opportunity to transform it into offices for various departments within the county.

The building will become the location of the tax assessor-collector’s office and the IT Department. County Clerk‘s Office services will also be available once the necessary modifications are made.

The building should come online by next February at the latest, Deputy County Administrator Javier Villarreal said.

“We’re just starting the architecture process, but right now we’re working on re-roofing the building, upgrading the elevators, and installing an A/C system,” Villarreal said. “We’re doing what we can to get ahead.”

Those upgrades are estimated to cost a little less than $1 million, Villarreal said.

Although the flooring and walls remain intact, the county also expects to pay for carpeting and a paint job.

Overall, the purchase still comes out cheaper than it would have been to construct another building, said Danny Villarreal, county construction manager.

“There was no way we could’ve built something like this with these finishes for the price we got it at. The bank is in really good shape overall,” he said.

The architect, Megamorphosis Inc., of Harlingen, has met with each department to assess what their needs are. Ideally, the architect will be able to build their needs around the existing layout, Danny Villarreal said.

Once the departments have been transferred, it should alleviate foot and vehicular traffic around the Cameron County Courthouse on East Harrison Street.

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