This public building was designed by English-born, Galveston-based Tyndall to fulfill Laredo's aspiration to become a center of trade and transportation. The brick and plaster T-plan structure served three functions, including that of city hall, performing arts center, and public market place. The original Renaissance Revival design, its cupola lost in 1905 to a tornado, is now altered into a stuccoed version of Spanish Mediterranean. It houses offices for civic groups since a new city hall was built several blocks to the north in 1986.
Situated on the square at the heart of the fifteen-block Mercado, or business district (bounded by Sta. Ursula and Convent avenues and Iturbide and Farragut streets), the placement of the new city hall and market house to the north of the colonial city center signaled the ebb of San Agustín Plaza. With a system of wider streets, urban development moved north in the direction of the railroad and caused Flores Avenue to become the new commercial thoroughfare of Laredo.