Plans for a hotel will likely surface soon for the vacant lot at 100 North Main Ave., just north of Main Plaza, after preservationist Paul Carter sold the property to Choice Hotels of Rockville, Maryland.

According to Carter’s broker, Choice Hotel will be looking into building a Cambria Hotel & Suites.

Cambria, one of the Choice Hotel brands and likened to some of their other hotel lines such as Comfort Inn, Sleep Inn and Econo Lodge, are “upscale but never uptight” hotels with “modern, stylish rooms,” according to its website.

The 0.4-acre lot is in the heart of downtown at the intersection of Main Avenue and East Commerce Street. The building was restored by Carter’s father in the 1990s, but the lot has been vacant since 2011 when a fire destroyed the 1880s Wolfson building.

After the building burned down, he turned to the City for development input. Carter’s broker, Thomas Nyman of Parman Group said the City conducted and partially funded a study on the site. The study determined that either housing units or a food truck court could best fit the space.

“(The study) helped to get the ball rolling,” he said. “(A Hotel is) the next best thing (for the) high number of tourists who come to see the Cathedral.”

Nyman said Choice Hotel’s land acquisition team, which has been pursuing sites in top markets across the United States, caught wind of the vacant lot and pursued a deal.

Carter could not be reached for comment before deadline.

A vacant lot at 100 North Main Avenue which was recently bought by Choice Hotels. Photo by Scott Ball.
The vacant lot at 100 N. Main Avenue was recently purchased by Choice Hotels. Photo by Scott Ball.

The hotel is a stone’s throw away from San Fernando Cathedral, the oldest standing church in Texas built in 1731.

In addition to local traffic that still attends services at the active parish, “The Saga” video art installation is projected onto the church’s façade on Tuesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights. Some hotel guests will be able to see the installation from their room windows.

Main Plaza hosts variety of events including a weekly farmers market, a night market, an annual mariachi competition, bicycle rallies, and more. Main Plaza’s position near the Bexar County Courthouse, Municipal Plaza building, City Hall, the River Walk, and several restaurants makes it a prime location for daily commuters and tourists alike.

Nyman thinks a hotel would be a positive addition to the area, but personally, he said he was “a little disappointed” that the property was not sold to a local company or individual.

“It would have been (sold at) a very different price” for a local, he said, who assisted Carter during the process. The deal was closed on July 6.

Another downtown hotel, the AC Hotel by Marriott, remains on the drawing board for development on the River Walk. The 21-story, 252-room hotel would be blocks away from the Cambria hotel and involves demolishing at least a portion of the old Solo Serve building on the 100 block of Soledad Street.

*Featured/top image: The vacant lot at 100 N. Main Avenue was recently purchased by Choice Hotels.  Photo by Scott Ball. 

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Joan Vinson

Former Rivard Report Assistant Editor Joan Vinson is a San Antonio native who graduated from The University of Texas with a bachelor's degree in journalism. She's a yoga fanatic and an adventurer at heart....