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story.lead_photo.caption Chunks of sidewalk were being scooped up Thursday night in front of the Grim Hotel on State Line Avenue downtown. The debris was a result of efforts to put in a new sewer line by Texarkana Water Utilities. Photo by Les Minor / Texarkana Gazette.

TEXARKANA, Texas — Hazardous materials abatement at the Hotel Grim is now expected to begin in early October, the project manager in charge of the building's rehabilitation said Thursday.

Cohen-Esrey Development Group, the Grim rehab's general contractor, will as required notify the state on Monday that it intends to begin asbestos abatement on the site within 12 days, Project Manager Tim Minson said.

Gill Industries, the Shreveport, Louisiana-based company originally awarded the abatement contract in July, withdrew its bid, and Austin-based Building Abatement Demolition Co. will now be doing the work, Minson said. In addition to asbestos, the company will remove lead and mold toxins from the hotel.

The abatement stage of the project will involve bringing in portable water and electricity sources, security fencing, and temporary offices. No streets will be closed during the work.

The public need not fear any hazards related to the work, as contractors, the city and the state all will have inspectors on-site throughout the process to ensure public safety, Minson said. No toxins will be allowed to leave the building, which will be sealed "like a balloon inside," he said.

"We couldn't be doing work on the White House and have any more (safety inspectors) on site," he said.

After abatement and interior demolition, at least 70% of the building's reconstruction will be handled by local subcontractors, Minson estimated.

The $25 million project will restore portions of the building, including the grand lobby and the Palm Court Room, and convert the former hotel room floors into modern apartments. On completion in late 2020, the property will contain 93 rental apartments in a mix of efficiencies, one- and two-bedroom units.

Named after Texarkana banking, railroad and timber magnate William Rhoads Grim, the hotel opened in 1925. Construction cost was nearly $1 million, and the 250-room hotel was luxuriously appointed in marble and other elegant decor. The hotel served the many train passengers who in the course of their travels spent a night or longer in Texarkana. It closed in 1990.

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