Fredericksburg: New Hotel, Historic Building Renovations Proposed for Main Street
Featured Photo (above): These three neighboring historic buildings on East Main Street will be renovated as part of the new Albert Hotel project. The new hotel construction will begin between the Vaudeville and Talk of the Town/White Elephant Saloon buildings on the far left. Image: Google Streets
by Edmond Ortiz
Fredericksburg (Gillespie County)–A business partnership involving one of Fredericksburg’s most well-known families plans to build a multi-story hotel on East Main Street in the city’s historic district.
The Planning and Zoning Commission on Aug. 7 recommended approval of a conditional use permit for Albert Hotel, which would be located in the 200 block of East Main, just east of Texas Highway 16.
Keidel Family General Partnership, the listed project owner on city documents, also plans to repurpose four nearby historic buildings and construct a parking garage, with all of these structures tying into the new hotel. Austin-based Pipkin Investments represents project ownership.
The hotel is named after Dr. Albert Keidel, who practice medicine and lived with his family in a two-story Victorian-style home he had built in the 1880s on the same block that is part of the development.
The City Council followed up with unanimous final approval of the project Aug. 19.
The blue indicates the properties that the Albert Hotel construction and historic building renovations will affect. Image: Clayton and Little Architects
According to a site plan on file with the city, two stories of the front of Albert Hotel would face Main Street, tucked between the existing Vaudeville store building and the Talk of the Town/former White Elephant Saloon building.
The hotel would measure 24 feet in height and include small retail space immediately along Main Street. Further back in the lot, the hotel rises to three stories, or 38 feet tall.
In all, the main Albert Hotel facility will cover two acres and have 107 guest rooms.
The S-shaped structure of the hotel will stretch toward the end of the lot fronting Austin Street. The site plan depicts a range of aesthetic elements, including water features, central courtyard, planters and stone walls. There also will be a swimming pool. The hotel’s restaurant/bar will have indoor and outdoor seating.
The former White Elephant will be restored as a new bar, and the former Keidel Pharmacy building next door will be renovated as a cafe.
The aforementioned former Keidel residence/office sits next to the former Keidel Pharmacy. It is currently Albertina House, a four-bedroom hospitality venue available for lodging and special events.
The Keidel partnership will update Albertina House and the adjacent kitchen structure, with plans to add onto the structure.
Closer to Austin Street, the new hotel project will include construction of a one-story barbecue smoker and service building, and expansion of a relocated existing bathroom facility. Also on Austin Street, the former Brockmann-Kiehne house will be restored as outdoor restaurant space.
The two-level, 139-space parking structure will be located in the 200 block of East Austin Street, across from all the new construction, on the north side of East Austin.
The garage will cover less than one acre. One parking level will be underground. New landscaping will be put in to soften the parking structure’s exterior appearance. The hotel owners also plan to lease 17 more parking spaces in an adjacent existing parking lot.
The plans call for a circular drive from Austin Street to provide pedestrian access and guest drop-off to the hotel. Additionally, the applicant is proposing that hotel guests use available valet parking to reduce the amount of guests walking across Austin Street to/from the parking garage.
Albert Hotel site plan. Areas in blue are new construction. Courtesy: City of Fredericksburg.
New Waterloo, an Austin-based hospitality management and development company, is attached to the project, according to planning documents. Most of their work has involved hotels, restaurants and event venues in and around Austin, and one hotel in the Caribbean island of Saint Barthelemy.
There is neither an available estimated cost nor construction schedule for the Albert Hotel project.
Before the Planning and Zoning Commission meeting, city staff recommended approving the project with the following conditions:
The applicant ensure that off-site parking spaces are exclusively and perpetually available for the Albert Hotel;
Approval of landscape and civil construction plans before issuance of a building permit; and
Final approval from the city’s Historic Review Board, which had given preliminary approval in a previous meeting. That panel is due to look at the latest plans within the next week.
“We believe the proposed project is ideal to this unique property in the heart of downtown,” the city stated in the conditional use permit case file. “Incorporating the historic structures into the project and proposing a unique hotel and retail venue will support the other commercial activity downtown.”
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.