New Braunfels Utilities Board of Directors plans to transform city center headquarters into hotel, restaurant and social garden


The Mainzer has been proposed to incorporate a city center hotel, parking lot, restaurant, bar and social garden. (Image courtesy of New Braunfels Utilities)

On November 19, New Braunfels Utilities officials revealed plans to transform the NBU headquarters at 263 Main Plaza in New Braunfels into a downtown boutique hotel named The Mainzer. The project would also include a restaurant, bar, social gathering space and parking garage.

A collaboration between Seals Family Properties of New Braunfels, Douglas Architects, construction firm Kingham Dalton Wilson of Houston and Gillum Development, the team was one of six to deliver a proposal in January in response to request for quotes from NBU and one of three who responded to their tender in May.

In January 2020, NBU announced plans to build a new headquarters off Loop 337, adjacent to the NBU Trinity Wellfield and Processing Plant that would consolidate staff and assets from the Main Plaza location. and a service center located at 355 FM 306.

The deal comes after years of planning with the City of New Braunfels to develop an overlay neighborhood that would require the future owner of the real estate site to maintain the historic integrity of the current NBU location, the CEO of NBU said, Ian Taylor.

“In 2018, when we completed our facilities master plan, one of the main recommendations in this master plan was to sell this Main Plaza office, which is our primary business location, as well as our service center on [FM 306]—Which brings together many of our field, engineering and purchasing functions — and then relocate the business under one roof and in a central location within our service territories. And when that recommendation came out, our new board didn’t want to just put up a poster for sale in the front yard and take the highest bidder for a property, ”Taylor said.

Taylor said that due to the building’s historical significance and the footprint of the location – about a quarter of the main plaza – NBU wanted to have a thorough process involving local developers, community members and business and real estate owners to provide feedback before going ahead with plans. NBU headquarters have been located in this facility since 1942 and consist of three connected buildings, he said.

A memorandum of understanding will be presented to the NBU board on January 27 to allow the utility to negotiate exclusively with the group of developers on the project.

“We did some diagram studies to kind of test the fit of the site and really laid the groundwork for the developer teams that would come up with this project. And so, through this process, we identified a parking shortage and the need for structured parking, ”said Andrew Douglas of Douglas Architects. “So one of the key elements of this plan is a parking structure which is located sort of at the rear of the development. This effort was actually very instructive for the layering, ”he said.

NBU plans to move into a new headquarters in the spring or summer of 2024, said Ryan Kelso, NBU chief operating officer, and a timeline for the downtown site redevelopment is coming.

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