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Historic preservation consultants are recording Grim's architecture

Historic preservation consultants are recording Grim's architecture

Visit is part of the hotel's renovation process

March 14th, 2018 by Karl Richter in Texarkana News

City planning staff members talk with developers during a recent walk-through of the Hotel Grim on North State Line Avenue in downtown Texarkana, Texas. (Photo courtesy the city of Texarkana, Texas)

Historic preservation consultants are cataloging the Hotel Grim's interior, the latest step toward a planned renovation of the derelict downtown building into about 100 apartments.

A pair of experts with Austin-based consulting firm Ogee spent Tuesday and will continue today recording the Grim's historic architecture and ornament, including photographing each window. The work is part of the process of obtaining federal historic tax credits, a key portion of the renovation's financing.

The first part of that process was to get the Grim on the National Register of Historic Places, which happened in 2015, said David Orr, Texarkana, Texas, director of planning and community development.

Ogee's survey of the property is a step in part two: submitting a detailed description of the rehabilitation project for approval by the National Park Service. NPS will determine whether project plans are "consistent with the historic character of the property," according to a Department of the Interior publication.

Federal historic tax credits are expected to provide about $1.8 million of the project's financing, with state historic tax credits adding another $2.4 million.

The city announced in January 2017 that the final piece of the project's patchwork of financing—$1.4 million in Department of Housing and Urban Development tax credits—had been secured and sale of the hotel to developer Jim Sari was expected to close that summer.

In May 2017, the city and Sari announced that plans had expanded to include renovation of two nearby buildings. According to the new plan, the former Sears store at 301 Pine St. would become home to about 20 market-rate apartments, and the Harrell Building at 317 N. State Line Ave., formerly known as the Rialto and the Medical Arts Building, would become office space.

At that time, sale of those two buildings to Sari was expected to close in fall 2017, but neither has been sold. David J. Potter II owns the Sears building, and its appraised value for 2017 is $18,000, according to Bowie Central Appraisal District records. Owned by Margaret Harrell, the Harrell Building was appraised at $51,421 in 2017.

By December 2017, details of the Grim's sale were still being worked out by Sari's attorneys, and Texas housing authorities were putting a final stamp of approval on the project's financing, according to Orr.

Sari has not responded to repeated requests for an update on the Hotel Grim project, and there has been no word recently on when sale of any of the three buildings involved is expected to close, or when any construction work will begin.

On Twitter: @RealKarlRichter

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