TYLER, Texas (KETK) – The City of Tyler moved forward with plans to build a new $28 million Rose Complex.

At their regular meeting on Wednesday, the city council awarded WRL General Contractors of Flint with a contract for construction on the project.

The Rose Complex includes Harvey Convention Center, the Rose Garden Center, East Texas State Fairgrounds, the old Mayfair building and the surrounding areas designed by Fitzpatrick Architects. Altogether, it will have over 60,000 square feet of meeting space.

Phase 1 of the plan is expected to start in the summer of 2021 and finish by Rose Festival Season in October 2022.

One third of the project will be covered with bonds, and the rest will be covered in cash, according to Chief Financial Officer Keidric Trimble.

Stephanie Franklin, managing director for the city, said that the Rose Garden has been part of the culture and heritage of Tyler for years.

“It was important for us to take this opportunity to rehab this area and make it look like the crown jewel that we as a community would support,” Franklin said.

This project has been in the works for years, but is just now fully coming to fruition.

“There’s been four previous mayors that are supporting this project, and to actually start the groundbreaking under my tenure, I’m excited about it,” Mayor Don Warren said. “If it had happened in the past, I would have still been excited about it. My biggest excitement is just the fact that it’s happening.”

“It’s what we need, it’s happening, and I’m ready to shovel dirt.”

Tyler Mayor DOn Warren

Brandy Ziegler with Fitzpatrick Architects gave the presentation of the new venue during the council meeting, complete with a virtual video tour.

She detailed parking improvements, a garden pavilion building, a rose garden and a direct connection from the porch to the rose garden museum.

“What’s exciting about this is it becomes an entire complex and an entire campus,” Ziegler said.

A 3.3 acre park will be located off of Front Street on the north side. Ziegler said it is an event park, and over 5,000 people can be at the park at a time.

There will be an arbor tree park and a possible future connection to a food truck park on the west side that connects directly to the complex.

The conference center has an iconic rose feature in the middle.

Photo from Fitzpatrick Architects presentation

A big conference space can seat over 1,900 people in chairs and 1,300 for banquet seating. There are “rose acoustic clouds” on the ceiling that can be lit different colors for different events.

Photo from Fitzpatrick Architects presentation

There are 3 breakout rooms that can be combined into one large room, and several large social spaces.