Monday, November 27, 2023
  Announcements, Community

By Victoria Brito Morales

RIO GRANDE VALLEY, TEXAS – NOV. 27, 2023 – It’s official! UTRGV now owns one of downtown Brownsville’s most iconic buildings – the Majestic Theatre.

Built in 1948, The Majestic will be renovated to serve as a much-needed Performing Arts Center for the Brownsville Campus. 

UTRGV officially closed on the building Nov. 15, purchasing the facility from The Roy F. and Joann Cole Mitte Foundation. The UT System Board of Regents had granted purchase approval earlier this fall.

Dr. Jeffrey Ward, dean of the UTRGV College of Fine Arts, said he is excited about what this purchase means for the future of performing arts at UTRGV and especially for students on the Brownsville Campus.

"The purchase of the Majestic Theatre and its future renovation into a state-of-the-art performance hall is an amazing investment by UTRGV in our College of Fine Arts students as well as in the community," Ward said.

The center will provide performance, rehearsal and instructional space for the College of Fine Arts as it works to expand its offerings in music, dance and theater. 

UTRGV President Guy Bailey said buying the Majestic Theatre has numerous benefits, not just in providing a working and learning space for UTRGV’s performing arts students and faculty, but also by supporting Brownsville itself.

“The added activity will help support local businesses in the downtown area,” Bailey said. “The building and its restoration have historical significance, yes, but this new Performance Arts Center also signifies a big collaborative step into the future for our university and our community. 

“We are excited to finally and officially purchase the Majestic Theatre for our wonderful performing arts program,” he said.


In addition to the new building for performance arts, UTRGV is working on a plan for a new Visual Art facility in Brownsville. UTRGV currently is leasing Rusteberg Hall from Texas Southmost College.

To date, UTRGV already has purchased new equipment and furniture for a future facility, and further details will be made available as plans progress. 


The Historical Marker Database website ( says the Majestic was built in 1948 and was part of Karl St. John Hoblitzelle’s Interstate theater chain. Interstate was an influential vaudeville and later movie theater company in the South, opening Majestic Theaters in Dallas and San Antonio before coming to Brownsville. The building has stylistic influences of the modern architectural movement, and the interior features Art Deco murals, stairway and terrazzo floors. Portions of the original facade, including the theater marquee, remain. 


The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (UTRGV) was created by the Texas Legislature in 2013 as the first major public university of the 21st century in Texas. This transformative initiative provided the opportunity to expand educational opportunities in the Rio Grande Valley, including a new School of Medicine, and made it possible for residents of the region to benefit from the Permanent University Fund – a public endowment contributing support to the University of Texas System and other institutions.

UTRGV has campuses and off-campus research and teaching sites throughout the Rio Grande Valley including in Boca Chica Beach, Brownsville (formerly The University of Texas at Brownsville campus), Edinburg (formerly The University of Texas-Pan American campus), Harlingen, McAllen, Port Isabel, Rio Grande City, and South Padre Island. UTRGV, a comprehensive academic institution, enrolled its first class in the fall of 2015, and the School of Medicine welcomed its first class in the summer of 2016.