Fredericksburg hotel project to mix the old and the new

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Old and new will join hands at a planned resort in the heart of historic Fredericksburg, slated to open in summer 2022.

As envisioned by Austin’s New Waterloo hotel group, the Albert Hotel will occupy what is now mostly fallow land between East Main and East Austin streets. No historic structure will be demolished; four will be renovated and integrated into the hotel complex.

The major part of the hotel will consist of a light and modernist structure built with materials compatible with the existing buildings.

On Main Street, the hotel will match the scale and mass of the existing shopping area which attracts tens of thousands of tourists each year. Entrance to the main building, however, will be on Austin Street, which already houses the George HW Bush Modernist Gallery at the Pacific War Museum one block away.

“The hotel environment is a mix of masculine and feminine, historic and new,” says Melanie Raines, design director of the new Waterloo. It “nods to Fredericksburg’s future, while the interior design reflects the softer side of global sensibilities.”

A small stone building, the 1870 Brockman-Kiehne House, located on the land facing Austin Street, will become a barbecue. It once served as a “Sunday house” for German-American farmers or ranchers who needed a place to stay when they visited the city. Two large commercial buildings facing Main Street will be among the hotel’s three restaurants and two bars.

The entrance to the new Albert Hotel will be on East Austin Street.  Though lighter and airier, the building's modernism echoes the George HW Bush Gallery at the National Museum of the Pacific War, one block east.

The Albert Hotel is expected to feature 109 rooms, a pool and spa, as well as indoor and outdoor event spaces. A 160-space two-level parking garage will be located directly across East Austin Street.

Designed by the architectural firm of Austin Clayton Korte, in partnership with New Waterloo, the main Modernist building will use wood, limestone, stone and steel intended to complement the existing buildings, but with a clearly differentiated appearance.

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The hotel is named after Fredericksburg architect, curator and outgoing personality Albert Keidel, who died in 2010 at the age of 100.

Albert’s great-grandfather, Dr. Wilhelm Keidel, arrived in Fredericksburg as a city doctor and judge in 1847, the year after the city was founded.

Albert’s father, Victor Keidel, a doctor and pharmacist, rode his palomino at the head of the town’s centenary parade.

The hotel is located on the site of the family pharmacy and the Keidel family farm, both of which will be integrated into the resort.

The East Main Street facade of the Albert Hotel project will adapt to the scale and mass of the surrounding historic buildings.  The two oldest buildings on the right will serve as the lounge and café for the hotel complex.

“New Waterloo worked with the Keidel family to implement a vision that transforms their original family property into a one-of-a-kind hotel destination,” said Patrick Jeffers, Partner and Director of Development for New Waterloo. “The historical significance, beauty and character of the existing buildings, as well as their location within the city’s golden blocks, captures the soul of the Hill Country.”

The “golden blocks” are those in the center of the Fredericksburg strip along Main Street.

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An event lawn will incorporate old and new elements at the Albert Hotel in Fredericksburg.

Nothing like this resort has been added to the city mix, which has been a travelers’ paradise since the 1840s. The Nimitz Hotel, decorated to resemble a sea ship, for example, was the residence of Admiral Chester Nimitz, Commander of the United States Pacific Fleet in World War II. It was recently refurbished as part of the National Pacific War Museum as a large exhibit on the Admiral’s life.

The New Waterloo Group is known for several innovative but sensitive projects in Austin and Santa Fe, NM. The largest is the South Congress Hotel, which despite its modernity fits easily into the old commercial fabric of the famous tourist avenue.

Other New Waterloo projects include Hotel Ella, El Rey Court, La Condesa, Sway, Café No Sé, Mañana, Central Standard, Otoko, Il Brutto and Butler Pitch & Putt. With the exception of the original Sway on South First Street, all of them survived the hospitality industry crash during the pandemic.

The White Elephant Saloon, photographed in 1970 by the Texas Historical Commission, will be relaunched as part of the Albert Hotel complex.  The vacant lot on the left will be the site of the main street part of the hotel.

The Fredericksburg project encompasses the properties located between 242 and 248 East Main Street. The White Elephant Saloon, with its striking elephant in bas-relief on the facade, hasn’t been a bar since the Prohibition era, but has housed several retail spaces over the years. It will reopen under its original name as a beer and whiskey bar open to the public as well as hotel guests.

The Keidel Pharmacy building will become a cafe and café called, of course, Keidel Pharmacy, with market-style counter service with daily seasonal items, pastries, bread, as well as local produce and gifts.

Michael Barnes writes about the people, places, culture and history of Austin and Texas. He can be contacted at [email protected]


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