NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) - It's official. As of Tuesday morning, the once-foreclosed Hotel Fredonia in Nacogdoches has a new owner.
It now belongs to business man and restaurant owner Richard DeWitt who completed the $2 million purchase.
He plans to spend at least another $9 million for a total renovation.
Until recently, Dewitt has remained quiet about the investment, but he opened up Tuesday about how he plans to save the 60-year-old icon in the Oldest Town in Texas.
DeWitt has completed many successful business deals, but for him nothing compares to the one he made Tuesday morning.
"I never bought a hotel before, so it was a little bit different," DeWitt said.
Right down to needing his state representative to pass a bill for needed revenue.
"I want to thank Travis Clardy for getting the bill passed to help us to retain hotel occupancy tax money and sale tax money to help this hotel survive, and I don't know; without it if I would have done this," DeWitt said.
The Nacogdoches native's nostalgia also helped seal the deal.
"I just remember being underneath this stair when I was a kid. I like this hotel," DeWitt said. "I like Nacogdoches and I just want to make it better for everybody."
As part of the renovation, all of the old furniture will be moved out of the Hotel Fredonia and sold at a later date.
"We'll be moving furniture out and putting it in the convention center, and we'll have a sale in a couple of weeks selling antiques and artifacts and pieces of furniture we have around here," DeWitt said.
The plan is to have a completely renovated hotel up and running in about 10 months.
"All the rooms will be new," DeWitt said. "The lobby will be new. New restaurants. New bar. Everything will be new. There's kind of new decor type now called mid-century modern and that's what they did with the modern buildings in the 50s, so that's what we're going to try to make it look like, the 50s."
The long process of opening a hotel is teaching DeWitt something new.
"I realize how much I don't know," DeWitt said. "It's a lot more complicated than I gave it credit."
DeWitt said a competent staff will oversee operations.
This is a big year for Richard DeWitt and his wife Barbara.
Their restaurants, Clear Springs and Auntie Pasta's have been named as 2015 Large Business of the Year by the Nacogdoches County Chamber of Commerce. They'll be honored on September 29th.