A historic building in downtown Seguin is preparing to be opened as a new venue in the heart of the city.

Freddie Leos, owner of the buildings that house Traveling Gypsy and the Warehouse, has renovated the back half of the antiques store into a venue for gatherings, parties, weddings and more.

Along with his partner Denise Marie, the pair created Soel Venue, 112 W. Dongean St.

“When we redid this section of the building, I always pictured something like that here,” Leos said. “It is a big space. The only other thing that I saw it being was some sort of a restaurant at the beginning.”

“When we were clearing it out, we talked about what we could do,” Marie said. “He’s always wanted to do something like this.”

The entrance on Donegan Street opens to a small, cocktail area that is a little more than 2,000 square feet. At the back of the room sits a bar and a hedge wall for guests to use for selfies or other photos, Marie said.

“I just love this wall. There are so many places that you can go now that has a selfie wall,” she said.

The smaller room is attached to the main room, which sits at almost 5,000 square feet, Leos said.

The original brick walls were kept in their original condition, while the exposed pipes and beams were painted black. Gold chairs, mirrors and chandeliers from Egypt bring in a certain elegance, Marie said.

“I was wanting to go with the black and gold, old industrial look,” she said. “It is very different from what we’ve seen. We wanted to keep everything original. I wanted everything exposed, I wanted to leave it like it was.”

Marie wasn’t the only one. Leos admitted he’s a fan of historic buildings and the look they hold.

“I love old buildings and I love keeping them as original and historic as possible,” he said.

In the restoration process, Leos swapped out the large sliding glass doors on the front of the building for large windows, allowing in a lot of natural light.

“I think the windows help to capture the sunlight and really makes the room feel open,” he said.

A lot of the decorations for Soel Venue came from the Traveling Gypsy, the shop owned by Leos’ mother, Marie said.

“She finds the most amazing things and brings it to life here in the venue,” Marie said.

The main room can comfortably seat 250 people with a dance floor, stage and area for a bride and groom, Marie said.

Soel Venue, Traveling Gypsy and the Warehouse are connected with pathways and locked doors.

One of the things Marie has heard since announcing the venue was about people’s affinity for the connection to The Warehouse.

“What everyone is loving about the location … weddings usually end at 10, 11 p.m. and people aren’t necessarily ready to go home,” she said. “So while the wedding party is clearing up, the guests can open the door and go into the Warehouse and have a couple of drinks. That works out for a lot of people who are booking and they are just loving that idea.”

Although Soel Venue has not officially opened, Marie has begun booking parties and weddings.

Leos said the buildings look and feel allows for it to host more than just weddings.

“We don’t want it to just be a venue for weddings,” he said. “It is going to be for a lot of different things. It is very versatile.”

The pair has already begun to brainstorm about different ventures for bringing people in, including their newest edition to The Warehouse.

The establishment will host a menu created by Chef Ernest Cervantes beginning in November.

“One thing we are doing is inviting Ernest Cervantes to come out and do more cooking here with the barbecue,” Leos said. “We are talking about expanding it to maybe a once-a-month meal for about 25 people and it would be some kind of exotic dinner and high end liquor.”

The duo is hopeful that Soel Venue will not only bring people to the three connected businesses, but those around them as well.

“Hopefully this will serve the residents of the city, and those visitors from other areas outside of Seguin,” Leos said. “We’re really just trying to bring more people into downtown Seguin. If this brings in more people for the Warehouse, for my mom or for anybody downtown, it helps. Every little thing helps.”

For more information on Soel Venue, visit soelvenue.com, call 830-660-2433 or visit Soel Venue on Facebook.

“I’m excited and looking forward to seeing it come to life, seeing a wedding in here and all of that romance,” Marie said.

Felicia Frazar is the managing editor of the Seguin Gazette. You can e-mail her at felicia.frazar@seguingazette.com

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