A 13-month massive renovation of the Fredonia Hotel and Convention Center in Nacogdoches is underway. It’s in the demolition phase. Walls are coming down and ceilings replaced.
“With each new wall we open is a new adventure,” hotel general manager John McLaren said Wednesday, following a construction meeting.
The hotel, built brick by brick by local residents in the 1950s, was closed in Nov. 2013 and fell into foreclosure. Nacogdoches restauranteur Richard DeWitt purchased it in September and immediately started on a renovation of the nostalgic hotel that charmed him as a child. McLaren says the renovation is now estimated to cost roughly $11 million.
“We prepared for there to be a lot of work that needed to be done and a lot of things behind the walls that we needed to be fix, but just not to the extent that it occurred,” McLaren said.
It will reopen as a 110-room hotel with banquet facilities. McLaren says architects are wed to its mid-century modern design.
“We want to make sure we do it correctly and give it the feel back then when it first opened, but with a new modern twist to it,” McLaren said.
McLaren has spent 25 years in hotel management at the Crowne Plaza, Marriott and Hilton properties in the Dallas-Ft. Worth area. Most recently, he managed the Hampton Inn & Suites and Comfort Suites in Nacogdoches.
McLaren says the target date to reopen the Fredonia is Oct. 2016. He acknowledges many Nacogdoches residents who hold fond memories of the hotel wish it could reopen tomorrow.