ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Clovis officials weigh proposal to turn vacant 9-story hotel into senior housing.
It was the Skyscraper of the Plains, once the tallest building to be found between Albuquerque and Dallas.
The nine-story Hotel Clovis, with its Art Deco exterior and southwestern Indian motifs within, opened its doors in October 1931, boasted the first elevator in southeastern New Mexico, and its ballroom played host to Louis Armstrong, Glenn Miller, Tommy Dorsey and Hank Williams.
Not long after the Santa Fe Railway stopped passenger service to Clovis in the early `80s, the grand old hotel closed its doors, and it has stood vacant, a prey to vandals, an eyesore and embarrassment to downtown Clovis.
Clovis Mayor David Lansford, at a meeting of city commissioners in January, called the historic hotel — which was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1984, the year it closed — "an albatross in its current condition," the Clovis News-Journal reported at the time.
"We need to set the clock on the Hotel Clovis," who asked city commissioners to find a use for the vacant landmark — or have it torn down, the News-Journal reported.
"It cannot just sit there unoccupied, dragging down the rest of Clovis," Lansford said.
Now, according to today's Clovis News-Journal, there may be hope for the old hulk.
The Clovis City Commission on Thursday heard a plan from Clovis MainStreet to develop 44 affordable living units for senior citizens along with retail spaces in the old hotel at a cost of $10 million, the News-Journal said.
A private-public partnership with Albuquerque developer Jonathan Reid & Associates would come up with 90 percent of the cost, while the city, which owns the property, and Clovis MainStreet would seek $1 million in government grants to cover the remainder, MainStreet Vice President Lisa Dunagan told commissioners.
Clovis MainStreet and the developer would form a limited-liability partnership, Dunagan said.
"At best this is a break-even project," Dunagan told commissioners, adding that the renovation would stimulate the city's economy, making the project a "win-win situation."
MainStreet Executive Director Robert Beaubien said that under the plan, the developer would receive 16 years of tax credits for their investment in what Beaubien called "our field of dreams," the News-Journal said.
The plan will be formally presented to the City Commission at a future meeting, the paper said.