New Railhouse owners ready to get business on the rails

The sounds of construction are commonplace at the building located at the corner of Center Street and Old U.S. Highway 81 in Kyle these days.

Such noises, however, are music to the ears of business owners Antonio Calvo and John Nelson, who are looking to revive a historic structure into what they hope is a downtown hotspot.

The Railhouse, located at what was the Down South Railhouse building on Center Street, is the product Calvo and Nelson hope to have open by late summer. It’s a dream they believe could provide a “unique concept” to Kyle residents.

“This is going to be the best thing for Kyle,” Calvo said. “It’s going to be a unique concept that offers something for everybody.”

Workers weld together parts of the future Railhouse on Center Street on Tuesday. The business has been under construction for the last several months. (photo by Samantha Smith)

Calvo, a resident of Brooklyn, New York, said he and Nelson sought a location for a unique business opportunity in the area.

It wasn’t until they discovered the building in Kyle, which was shuttered in late 2016, that they found a viable location for what they wanted to do. 

Calvo said the duo originally sought to rent the building, but chose to buy it instead, which saved them $400,000.

At that point the two decided to open their establishment in Kyle.

“The city has been very good to us,” Calvo said describing the process he and Nelson went through to get the business off the ground.

The two are in the midst of renovating and reconstructing the establishment to their liking. Renovations could cost up to $1 million dollars.

Renovations include new flooring, new bars and adding a refrigeration unit that is housed in a railroad car. The two are also updating sound systems, as well as seating options and updating the roof on two of the structures.

One of the largest upgrades is the installation of a paved parking lot, which will have 130 to 150 spaces located near the first building.

Calvo and Nelson said they solved previous owners’ problem of parking conditions, and are using concrete to mitigate flooding issues.

What they plan to offer in the business will include indoor and outdoor music, various sporting activities, including tennis, bocce and 9-pin bowling.

Calvo said he plans to leave the “rustic” looking façade on the middle structure. The complex will also have a food area on the side facing the railroad tracks, which he said could offer unique culinary selections to patrons.

Calvo mentioned a unique feature of the new establishment called “The Garden of Eden” that will contain various kinds of exotic plants growing around the front and side of the structure.

Calvo said that Kyle Mayor Todd Webster approved the construction of a small water tower on site located at the first building on the Center Street side with a Kyle logo in addition to the Railhouse logo.

Webster said the business could offer a “destination” for Kyle residents. Webster added he enjoyed the previous establishment, but felt the new owners’ vision could attract more visitors to Kyle.

Calvo said even with the Railhouse’s unique design and concept, he didn’t come to Kyle to compete with local businesses.

He said the natural flow of downtown Kyle will allow patrons to walk around the area and be able to sample all venues, including Troubadours and Room 111.

“There are bars everywhere,” Calvo said, “But we are going to be an oasis.”

Calvo said he and Nelson plan to be open by mid-August 2017, but could begin operation in late July, if weather cooperates.

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