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Contractor: Hotel Grim on track for autumn opening

by Karl Richter | April 9, 2022 at 3:15 p.m.
A crane lifts a portion of a stairway to the roof of the Hotel Grim on June 22, 2021, on Pine Street in downtown Texarkana, Texas. Two large stairways and structural improvements have been completed in the hotel, and the project's general contractor said Friday, April 8, 2022, the building should be ready for apartment residents by October or November. (Staff file photo by Kelsi Brinkmeyer)

TEXARKANA, Texas -- Despite delays and unforeseen challenges, the Hotel Grim's rehabilitation is on track to be completed by fall, the project's manager said Friday.

Needed repairs to the building's basic structure, including steel pylons driven through the basement floor, are about 90% completed, and an increase in manpower is coming to push the project across the finish line by October or November, said Tim Minson, vice president of design and construction with Cohen-Esrey, the project's general contractor.

An additional project manager is coming on board to help oversee work on the Grim, and Cohen-Esrey plans to hire an assistant superintendent.

"We're about to lean into this thing. And as big as it is, we've got to have people everywhere. ... We're getting ready to pin our ears back and start really going hard now. We'll have a lot more people showing up. So you'll see steady, steady activity" beginning about next week, Minson said.

The project is six to 12 months behind schedule, he said, but all needed materials are in storage in Texarkana, so supply chain breakdowns affecting the broader economy will not further delay work on the Grim.

Work converting the derelict hotel into an apartment building began in November 2019, and the initial estimate for a completion date was spring 2021. The COVID-19 pandemic, an unexpectedly labor-intensive clean-out and hazardous materials abatement process, and surprise foundation problems -- necessitating the basement pylons -- have all lengthened the project's timetable.

"With a project this big and extensive, some delays aren't surprising," City Manager David Orr said.

Remaining work includes strengthening the building's water-damaged frame on the eighth floor.

"We're bringing steel I-beams all the way from the basement, all the way up to the eighth floor to restrengthen the area where the water had poured down through the building. It's a huge deal," Minson said.

Crews must also install custom-built elevators and finish interior framing. But the building's historical restoration, such as repairing or replacing plaster wall and ceiling ornaments, is almost complete. Crews have begun working on restoring the hotel's marble accents.

"We just appreciate everybody's support and patience. It's a very unique project with a lot of unique problems that we solved with a lot of help from local contractors that just sat down with a piece of paper and we figured it out, which is pretty rare in this business," Minson said.

Regardless of when the Grim reopens, Cohen-Esrey -- which will also serve as the new apartments' property manager -- expects full occupancy. The Lofts at the Grim has received thousands of inquiries and applications to rent apartments, Minson said.

Rental prices will be $595 per month for studio apartments, $635 for one-bedroom units and $758 for two-bedroom units, according to the Grim's property management website, loftsatthegrim.com.

The rehabilitation project is funded by multilayered, $26 million financing package that includes housing and historic tax credits, Environmental Protection Agency funds, a Neighborhood Stabilization Program loan, conventional debt and local contributions from the city.

All apartment units in the Grim will be affordable-rate housing because the project is partially funded by the federal Low-Income Housing Tax Credit program. That means tenants can have a household income of no more than 60% of the local median. The median income in 2020 in Texarkana, Texas, was $46,408, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. That figure would put Grim residents' income cap at about $27,845.

Named after Texarkana banking, railroad and timber magnate William Rhoads Grim, the hotel opened in 1925. Construction cost for the luxurious 250-room hotel was nearly $1 million. It closed in 1990.

Related stories:

New outdoor sculptures installed in artist's third Texarkana exhibition (https://www.texarkanagazette.com/news/2022/mar/04/new-outdoor-sculptures-installed-in-artists-third/)

DISCOVER TEXARKANA | Downtown Renaissance: From small businesses to major renovations, new life is coming to Texarkana's historic heart (https://www.texarkanagazette.com/news/2021/jun/26/discover-texarkana-downtown-renaissance-small-busi/)

Print Headline: Contractor: Hotel Grim on track for autumn opening

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