Renovated Hotel Angelina's first retail tenant opens its doors

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - Nestled in the heart of downtown Lufkin, the historic Hotel Angelina serves as a memory of our past.

"It's definitely a big part of Lufkin's history," Mark Hicks, the president of Angelina Holdings, said. "It's important to people here in Lufkin, and we preserve our history in the downtown area."

And now, with the help of a restoration project, the hotel will help people make new memories.

The Lufkin City Council approved a $100,000 grant in early February for the project, which included a demolishing of the first floor to make room for a retail plaza.

"The first floor of the hotel affords seven different spaces, six being retail, and one restaurant space," Hicks said. "As well as one of the retail spaces we're going to be converting into, or we are going to renovate into a wine bar. We plan on opening earlier next year."

The first tenant, a children's boutique, moved into the space in November. The store is owned by husband and wife Joe and Morgan Burton, and the couple said they love being a part of the hotel's history.

"People want to come in, and they want to see what's going on, and how it's changed because people remember this building," Morgan Burton said.

The plaza will have seven retail spaces - including a sandwich shop - a few boutiques, and a wine and beer bar. But that's only the beginning.

Hicks plans on restoring the hotel to its former glory by turning the space into modern day lofts with a hint of historical charm. Eighty percent of the retail plaza has been leased, and Hicks believes the project will add more foot traffic to the downtown area.

"Many people can see in the Lufkin area that the downtown area is starting to expand again, and things are happening and retails moving in and more traffic is coming to the area," Hicks said. "The hotel was sort of a likely move to continue the development down the street."

Copyright 2012 KTRE. All rights reserved.