POSTED: Wednesday, November 20, 2013 - 12:53am
UPDATED: Wednesday, April 9, 2014 - 3:05pm
NACOGDOCHES, TEXAS (KETK) — A historic hotel in the oldest town in Texas officially closed on Tuesday.
Hotel Fredonia in Nacogdoches opened in 1955 and is a landmark in downtown Nacogdoches.
Folks in town tell KETK, the hotel is known as the "living room of Nacogdoches."
Hotel Fredonia was the place to be for dining and celebrations, making beautiful memories for all who had the privilege of going there.
Judy McDonald of the Nacogdoches Economic Development Corporation says, the hotel holds a special place in the hearts of people who live in Nacogdoches or who have visited.
"It's the heartbeat of Nacogdoches and the community is looking forward to the hotel reopening," said McDonald. "With the closing, it's truly a sad time in town. It’s been our community center since it’s opening in the 50’s. Now, it did close for a few years in the 80’s, but it was purchased and renovated then re-opened. Then, Susan Reents bought it five years ago and has done a wonderful job of upgrading it, particularly the public areas of the hotel.”
Reents took ownership of the hotel in 2008.
“I’m saddened and heartbroken because it could have been avoided,” says Reents. "The closing didn't have to happen, but it was simply politics."
Reents adds the closing happened because of financial reasons and a lack of support.
“The occupancy tax in Nacogdoches starting going down, it was 10 percent a year and now it’s 35 percent," said Reents.
KETK spoke with the Nacogdoches City Manager, Jim Jeffers, to find out if they will take action to help support the closing.
“That’s a difficult question to answer," said Jeffers. "It’s primarily going to be up the owner and creditors to say, 'ok this what we need in order to move forward."
It was Reents goal to keep it going and she says she was so blessed to have the best employees.
Christina Banchs, a former employee of the hotel, tells KETK, it’s disappointing to see the hotel close.
“This was my family, the customers, the other employees, I mean we were a community,” says Banchs.
Reents says she wants to see a good future for the hotel.
“Now, I’m going to get out of the way and let someone run it,” says Reents. "I am truly heartbroken and I know the closing is going to impact the city."
Hotel Fredonia is now for sale.