Main Plaza Redevelopment – Project Overview and Update
As a part of its real estate strategy goals, NBU desired to both divest its interest in the Main Plaza Building and enable a transformational project for the betterment of the community. In January 2021, NBU released the Request for Qualifications (RFQ) for interested developers and received six responses. The top three candidates were short-listed for the project, and in May 2021, NBU released the Request for Proposals (RFP) to those candidates to request greater detail and proposals of what redevelopment of the site would entail if they were selected.
Recognizing the importance of this project, NBU assembled two teams, the Core Team and the Project Advisory Committee, to develop and evaluate responses for both the RFQ and RFP. Through an extensive evaluation and review process, both teams reached a consensus on a recommended development team for the acquisition and development of NBU’s Main Plaza location.
Team Mainzer, comprised of Seals Family Properties, Kingham Dalton Wilson, and Gillum Development, was identified for the proposed site activation. Their development vision integrates rich German culture and includes a downtown boutique hotel to be named “The Mainzer” and social gathering places, including a restaurant and bar and a social garden, a place concepted to feel like home, providing a welcoming environment to come and stay for a while – for locals and tourists alike.
“This is truly a historic moment in time. New Braunfels Utilities has called the Main Plaza home for 80 years. It was important to our Board of Trustees that we protect the property’s historical integrity that NBU has worked decades to preserve and develop. The transformation of the NBU Main Plaza location has been a tremendous journey and the time and effort our Core Team and Project Advisory Committee have put into this very important process will add value to our community for generations to come.”
– Ian Taylor, NBU Chief Executive Officer
While the parties involved in this process believe the vision presented in the RFP response by Team Mainzer represents the best possible use for the property, negotiations with NBU and the City of New Braunfels will ultimately shape the final concept of the project.
Team Mainzer’s vision will be formally presented to the NBU Board of Trustees for consideration on January 27, 2022, at the monthly board meeting, in the form of a Memorandum of Understanding, which is for exclusive negotiation of a development agreement.
New Braunfels Utilities – A Lasting Legacy
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.
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.
- 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.
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 1800s 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.