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Purchase deal, renovations planned for three Big Bend area hotels

The Holland Hotel in Alpine.
Carlos Morales
Marfa Public Radio
The Holland Hotel in Alpine.

A recently formed hospitality company is pitching plans to purchase and renovate three popular hotels in the Big Bend region.

The firm Byways Hospitality, founded earlier this year by Collin Bibb and Bryan Carrico, said in a press release in late July that it is seeking to buy Alpine’s Holland Hotel and Maverick Inn, along with the Hotel Limpia in Fort Davis.

Bibb and Carrico both have a background in real estate and hotels. Before this latest venture, Carrico co-founded the hospitality firm Alexa Management, which took over operations of the three Big Bend area hotels in June.

Charles Mallory, a Connecticut-based hotelier and current owner of the three West Texas properties, confirmed that he supports the purchase plan, which would involve him staying on as a partner. Alexa Management would continue to operate the hotels, both companies said.

In an interview, Bibb said the group had pored over data about tourism in the region and felt there was an opportunity to both upgrade the hotels to modern travelers’ expectations and to draw more visitors to them.

“We just love this area so much, and we think it’s poised for continued growth,” Bibb said.

Earlier this year, researchers from Texas A&M University released a sweeping report on tourism demographics and trends in the region. The report, commissioned by the Brewster County Tourism Council, found that the region continues to draw many first-time visitors who often return to the region later.

Bibb said his firm had reviewed data indicating that visitors to the region tend to be higher-income earners as well.

“They have money to spend, they want to be here, they’re going to come back, so we just think it’s a huge opportunity,” he said.

Those involved have said that their renovation plans will strive to preserve the historic nature of the hotels while also adding new amenities and in some cases more rooms for guests.

“Plans include a restored lobby bar, ballroom and restaurant in the Holland, an expanded courtyard, pool and restaurant at the Limpia and an outdoor-focused offering at the Maverick with 20 additional rooms behind the existing hotel,” Byways said in a statement.

The plan also entails upgrading “furniture, fixtures and equipment” in the hotels so the properties can “continue to serve guests and the surrounding community for the next century,” the company said.

“Our intention is not to raze these and build something new,” Bibb said, adding that the vision was to restore the hotels back to their “former glory” in the early 20th century.

“All the main pieces of the original architecture will remain, and that’s something that’s very important to us,” he said.

Mallory told Marfa Public Radio that he will remain personally involved in making sure the hotels’ historic charm is maintained after the purchase deal is completed.

The group’s plan for the buildings isn’t yet finalized. Bibb said Byways is currently looking for investor funding for the venture. He declined to say exactly how much money the group plans to pump into the hotels, but described it as a “significant amount.”

Bibb said the company is hoping to close on the deal and begin renovations as early as this fall.

In comments to the Big Bend Sentinel, local business group leaders praised the plan.

“My view is really that if we want to take Fort Davis to the next level, it’s going to be outside investment like [the Byways] possibility or The High Frontier as well,” Fort Davis Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Reagan Stone told the newspaper, referencing another newly planned hotel and resort development in the area.

The Sentinel also reported that Byways Hospitality is seeking to purchase the Harvard Hotel in Fort Davis as well.

Travis Bubenik is All Things Considered Host and Big Bend Reporter at Marfa Public Radio.