New, 63-room hotel, boutique coming to Main
By Ken Esten Cooke —
Plans for a 63-room, full-service hotel with retail spaces, a restaurant and a parking garage, were approved by the city council during regular session Monday.
The new “boutique” hotel which will feature modern design but with Hill Country elements, will be built on 1.63 acres at 406-412 East Main Street (most recently, the site of Valeska’s), where a vacant gasoline station now sits.
The project will stretch from the sidewalks on Main back to near Town Creek and a bridge will be constructed over the creek for rear-site access from Austin Street.
Schaesby Scott is the lead developer and he introduced Phillip Keil from Furman & Keil Architects of Austin, who detailed the plan with a slideshow.
Keil showed plans for a modern structure with limestone, stucco and metal siding, along with deep-set windows to match some existing structures on Main.
“We realize it is a quite large building, so we were very particular about its size,” Keil said. “We split it into two buildings, so it would seem much more in scale with Main Street. And we kept the existing heritage oak tree to preserve and added a courtyard that would protect that tree.”
Keil said that landscaping will feature native plants “to soften the building’s appearance.”
More vegetation will be added near the rear of the property to help screen and soften the building from the residential properties in the back,” he said.
The building will feature three retail bays on its western side of the courtyard, and two more on the east. Architects added a one-way access to get traffic off Main and onto the hotel’s grounds, he said.
With a sloping lot, a parking garage will be added on the north side of the property to handle the hotel’s automobile traffic.
Keil said though the building is planned for three stories, it would remain in scale with other Main Street properties.
“We were cognizant of not trying to overwhelm the Nimitz Hotel building, which is an iconic structure,” he said. The building will have slightly less elevation than the Nimitz Museum, City Hall and the Hampton Inn.
The planning and zoning committee received three letters of protest, most of which cited additional traffic congestion, the building’s proportion and that the project doesn’t look like “historical Fredericksburg.”
Another voiced concern that the hotel’s retail space would be given to “formula” chain stores instead of independent businesses like those that dominate Main Street.
Timothy Koock said his concern was form, not function.
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