You may recall that the City gave the Old Hotel owner 45 days to sit down with us and work out a plan to either renovate the old hotel or to stop messing around and just tear it down. The good news is that the owner is actually working with us to do just that so at this point we’re working two tracks with the old hotel: 1)obtain a court order to allow the city to tear the building down; and 2)secure commitments from the hotel owner with a tight schedule to renovate the old hotel. It’s still not clear which track will lead us across the finish line first but either way something will be done in the next couple of months.
Why Two Tracks?
First of all, I never like to back ourselves into a corner, I always prefer leaving myself and the city options. In this case, after years of inactivity at the site it was clear that we needed to do something to raise the heat on the hotel owner to inspire something more than just promises for renovations. The owner repeatedly told us that his business plan will work for the property, he has investors interested in the project and he even has legitimate retail/restaurant businesses wanting to be located there but he always came up short when it came time to actually do it and his answer had always been that the $400,000 of liens that were on the property prevented him from securing his construction loan.
So if that’s truly the case, we’re now working on terms that would temporarily suspend the liens for a certain time frame within which he would be required to secure his loans and start the rehab work. If he fails to do it within the required timeframe the liens would return and the court order to bring the building down would be available to us to use.
To be honest I’d prefer not to have to bring the building down because of the cost of demolition is probably around $400,000 and as you know we don’t have a lot of cash right now to use. I hope to be able to go to Council in August with an agreement with the owner that specifies the schedule for the property but one way or another things will happen in the next couple of months.