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Boerne’s AcreWerks to Revive Legacy of Historic Garage in Renovation Project

The West Elevation faces Main Street. The South Elevation faces the parking lot, the East is opposite the county courthouse.

by Adolfo Pesquera

Boerne (Kendall Co.)AcreWerks Inc. obtained approvals from the Historic Landmark Commission for demolition, renovation and new construction on the historic Richter’s Garage site at 153 S. Main Street.

The building backs up to the Kendall County Courthouse, from which it is separated by surface parking. The remodel would expand the existing building, add a second story to the rear that would include an elevator tower at the midsection and a rooftop garden.

“The elevator tower includes a signature water tank, as seen in the Richter family’s gas station,” the application states.

According to the application, AcreWerks also wants the Main Street façade to have new exterior front doors, energy efficient windows and a new storefront that would relocate the entry to the corner of the building.

“The pillars on the front cover are proposed to be encased,” the application states. However, AcreWerks President Guy Sanders said he would prefer to have the option to eliminate the pillars at the curb and support the canopy over the sidewalk with cables.

Commissioners at the Tuesday, Jan. 3 meeting questioned whether removing the pillars compromised the historic integrity of the original building, but Sanders said they were not original, but added as some much later date.

There was debate as to whether the building design was too modern or out of context to the Hill Country architecture.

Sanders said the façade facing Main Street would be more historically accurate than what exists today. He added that the masonry brick materials on the addition would match the front, and passersby on Main Street would not notice anything out of place concerning the façade.

The rear, however, would be of glass and steel and would have a more industrial look.

“That was by design,” Sanders said. “The industrial aspect was to reflect the history of the building itself as being an industrial space in the middle of town.”

The building was originally a garage that was built between 1915-1920. The layout of the ground floor will use the corner entrance to take patrons through a hallway that will lead to four or five retail tenants.

The interior design and furnishings will transition as visitors walk to the rear to encounter an early 20th century industrial feel, he said.

“We’re actually going to put a (Ford) Model T inside the building in the hallway and point back to the building’s roots,” he said.

The interior design will include décor and artifacts that affect a recreation of the Richter’s Garage. Another aspect of the transitionary design is to install a 19th century tin ceiling throughout the front end of the building. There was once a machine shop in the rear and, “the ceiling was just the rafters coming across.”

Sanders will restore the rafters and leave them exposed, explaining he would “make that part of the shopping experience.”

The rooftop, outdoor garden is intended to be part of the ambience of a tavern that will include a full-service restaurant and bar, Sanders said.

The demolition permit is for a metal shed behind the original building that must be removed.

Sanders said he hopes to have the building completed by the fall of 2017.

153 S. Main Street as it exists today (above), and the concept after the remodel and expansion (below).