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A Houston Suburb Has A New Place For Concerts

Sugar Land’s Smart Financial Centre is expected to bring big acts and big business.

Interior of Smart Financial Centre
A view from the stage of the Smart Financial Centre

Gary Becker is leading a small group of visitors through the backstage of Sugar Land's newest performance venue, Smart Financial Centre.

The stage looks out to a hall of more than 6,000 seats, which can be reduced to about 3,000 by retracting the walls. Over the course of a year, Becker expects approximately 300,000 people to attend events at the center.

"For the most part, those people are probably from outside of Sugar Land," he says. "Whether they're eating in restaurants, staying in hotels, filling up their cars, and everything associated with coming into the city of Sugar Land, it's going to benefit the city financially."

But isn't greater Houston already full of performance venues? Becker believes there's plenty of room for more.

"I think a lot of shows pass Houston because you can't get into Jones Hall, you can't get into the Hobby, you don't want to go play outdoors, and you don't want to play an arena," he says.

The cost to build the $84 million venue is being paid partly through the city's sales and hotel occupancy tax revenues, plus a $10 million contribution from ACE Theatrical Group. The soft opening is set for this Sunday, followed by the January 14th grand opening featuring comedian Jerry Seinfeld.

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