Fredericksburg: Springhill Suites Hotel Eyed South of Historic District
Featured Photo (above): A Springhill Suites by Marriott being proposed along US 290 is cut off from the highway by the vehicular and pedestrian bridges that cross Barons Creek. Image: Google Streets.
By Edmond Ortiz
Fredericksburg (Gillespie County)–The city of Fredericksburg is reviewing plans for a Springhill Suites by Marriott hotel that is proposed for a 2.52-acre tract south of the downtown historic district.
The Planning and Zoning Commission met Sept. 4 to recommend approval for a site plan, even though its configuration begs for a “Go Around the Back” sign on the US 290, which is the main thoroughfare travelers will use to approach it.
Because of barriers caused by its proximity to the bridges at US 290, that only access will be a turn down Lee Street to the 600 block of East San Antonio Street, which is a mix of old residential and commercial, but with a rural residential feel.
The two lots assembled for this project have addresses of 618 and 620 E. San Antonio St. It is otherwise bound by East Main Street (U.S. Highway 290) to the north, Barons Creek to south and east, and by some homes and small businesses to the west.
The Springhill Suites, will have 83 guest rooms a 38-foot height and 17,392 square feet of space.
Preliminary elevations for the proposed Springhill Suites by Marriott. Image: TDCK Architects
East San Antonio presently dead-ends past the tract. Because of physical constraints around the property, East San Antonio will be the main entry/exit point for the hotel. However, the structure will be closer to Main Street, so it will not be centered in the tract.
The lots are currently have commercial zoning and are surrounded by a blend of commercial, restaurant and single-family residential zoning.
Ninety surface parking spaces will be provided on site.
An abandoned house presently occupies the smaller lot at 618 E. San Antonio. The larger lot – 620 East San Antonio – is mostly undeveloped, save for two vacant structures.
A retaining wall will be built between the hotel building and the creek. A screen fence is proposed to act as a buffer on the west side of the property between the hotel parking lot and nearby houses. The site plan indicates a pool, patio and cabana will be part of the hotel construction.
The site chosen for the hotel is confined by Barons Creek and bridges at US 290. The planned access is down Lee Street to East San Antonio Street. Google Earth map/Graphics by Adolfo Pesquera.
The project is being spearheaded by Buffalo Capital Partners LP (BCP), a Houston-based private equity investment partnership. According to records, BCP typically makes investments between $3 million and $7 million.
In their project design narrative, VEI representatives wrote that Marriott’s prototypical design would be modified here to conform with the unique and historic Hill Country aesthetic of Fredericksburg, yet retain a modicum of design elements that typically characterize the building familiar to customers as a SpringHill Suites by Marriott hotels.
The VEI narrative also states the exterior materials of the planned hotel will include Austin cream limestone veneer. It will also feature a glass entrance.
There will be specialty lighting that highlights signature building features. However, the lighting will be directed in such a way that it follows the city’s dark sky guidelines.
New landscaping will be installed to create a buffer between the parking lot and the surrounding streets. Most, if not all the existing trees on the lot will be removed and replaced with new trees.
The Springhill Suites plan now goes to the City Council.
If fully approved, Springhill Suites would be Marriott’s second hotel in Fredericksburg, joining Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott located off Friendship Lane near Texas Highway 87.
The city is currently reviewing plans for Albert Hotel, a separate new hotel proposed for East Main Street in the historic district. Renovations of adjacent historic structures will be part of that project.
Preliminary site plan for Springhill Suites by Marriott in Fredericksburg. Image: VEI Consulting Engineers
Edmond Ortiz is a lifelong San Antonian and a 20-plus-year veteran in local journalism, He previously worked full-time at the San Antonio Express-News, and has been freelancing for outlets such as the Rivard Report.