New Braunfels Utilities Prepares to Sell Main Plaza Office
Through the decades, New Braunfels Utilities, as the Main Plaza’s northeast anchor, has served as a trusted community steward. New Braunfels Utilities has had the privilege to watch the Main Plaza and entire downtown district grow and flourish.
As a result of growth, NBU will consolidate personnel and assets at a new location off Loop 337 adjacent to the NBU Trinity Well Field and Treatment Plant. New Braunfels Utilities evaluated its current facilities, long-term growth of the service territory, cost, and other criteria and developed a Facilities Master Plan. The data gathered from the Master Plan showed the best value was to sell the Main Plaza Office, along with the Service Center located on FM 306, and build a new Headquarters.
New Braunfels Utilities has worked with the City to designate the property as an overlay district to establish standards to assure the site’s future owner maintains the historical integrity NBU has worked decades to preserve and protect.
As a part of its real estate strategy goals, NBU desires to both divest its interest in the Main Plaza Building and enable a transformational project for the betterment of the community. With these goals in mind, NBU and the City of New Braunfels created an Overlay District on the property, allowing for various uses to clear a path forward.
The Request for Proposal (RFP) process provides the forum for NBU to identify a Developer Team with whom it may execute these goals.
Plans are progressing to move the NBU Main Plaza property to the RFP phase by summer 2021. New Braunfels Utilities, along with a group of community leaders, reviewed the submitted Request for Qualifications (RFQ) and are now reviewing the top selections. Three of these submissions will be invited to advance through to the RFP process.
An Overlay District was Established to Ensure:
- Appropriate uses for the site.
- Any redevelopment is compatible with the unique location on Main Plaza.
- Historic contributing elements are preserved.
- The significance of the northeast corner of the Main Plaza is maintained.
History of 263 Main Plaza
New Braunfels Utilities was established in 1942 when the City Commission of New Braunfels purchased the electric transmission and distribution systems from Guadalupe Electric Company, which served the City of New Braunfels and surrounding areas. The Main Plaza building is a collection of three buildings on a 1.27-acre site, with the original building built in the early 1800’s and the most recent addition completed in the 1980s. The two-story structure today totals 26,721 square feet and contains surface parking. Downtown New Braunfels is on the cusp of significant redevelopment, with the city recently adopting the South Castell Avenue Visioning Plan in 2018. Being located within Main Plaza and the historic district, the site is in close proximity to many amenities in the core of downtown New Braunfels.
Service Center Sale
In early August 2020, the NBU Service Center, located on FM 306, was transferred to the City of New Braunfels. The Council Meeting video link can be accessed at http://newbraunfels.granicus.com/MediaPlayer.php…. Item D captures the video.
- Increase economic and community betterment to enhance the quality of our community for the future of downtown New Braunfels and NBU.
- Provide compatible and complementary land uses that enable the highest and best use of the Property.
- These uses may include office, hotel, retail, restaurant, residential, or civic space.
- Create a high-quality and appropriate design with aesthetical and functional transitions to surrounding buildings and uses while having no negative effects on Main Plaza or on the County Courthouse.
- Incorporate enhanced pedestrian-oriented amenities and ground floor activation, to promote walkability with direct connections to Main Plaza, pedestrian links, and bicycle facilities.
- Activate street corners and encourage pedestrian connectivity.
- Incorporate and implement elements of sustainability into the design, construction, operation, and maintenance of the proposed development.
- Align with the goals of the downtown community.
- Be initiated and completed within a reasonable time period.
The NBU Water Resources Plan calls for doubling the size of Trinity Well Field site, and serves as a logical solution for NBU’s long term needs. When the Headquarters opens (anticipated July 2023), it will consolidate operations of the Main Plaza and Service Center. The consolidation will include the fleet of NBU.
Moving out of the downtown office puts the valuable property on the tax rolls and benefits all of downtown and the community.