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story.lead_photo.caption Original crown molding overlooks the Hotel Grim's lobby while project manager Tim Minson gives a tour to Texarkana, Texas, city officials. Restorers plan to keep or recreate many original details. Minson is Cohen-Esrey Development Group's vice president of design and construction. (Photo by Sara Vaughn)

Hotel Grim has a lighter and brighter look with interior debris removal, exterior improvements and about 400 new windows being installed.

 

"The Grim is cleaner than when we started. She's in good shape," said Tim Minson, Cohen-Esrey Development Group's vice president of design and construction.

Minson led a tour on Friday for several Texarkana, Texas, city staff and council members to share updates and details about the building's transformation.

Lead and asbestos abutments are complete, as well as removal of items from the hotels' original rooms, clearing the floors so new apartments can be constructed within the building. Each of the building's eight floors has 12,000 square feet.

Minson said about 4.5 million pounds of debris has been removed from the building since demolition and renovation efforts got under way late last year.

Gallery: Lots of glass is going in the Grim

Tuckpointing, a masonry technique of filling gaps between mortar and brick by coordinating the color of the mortar to match the brick, is also complete.

All panes of glass in the building's first two floors will be replaced, including the massive, arched windows that face east on the ground floor.

On the upper floors about 400 new, white-framed Andersen windows, their style in keeping with the building's historical aesthetics, are being installed. Minson said the windows collectively cost about $550,000.

The building has two 10-foot by 22-foot openings in upper floors where concrete has been removed to make way for new, expansive stairwells.

Minson said the amount of concrete removed to accommodate the two new stairwells amounts to 150 tons, or about 300,000 pounds. This is equivalent to about 86 cars.

The building's original, interior stairwell on the northern side, as well as a large chimney, will ultimately be converted into walk-in closets and bathroom space, he said.

"There is not an inch of the Grim that that will not be used," Minson said.

Plans are to rebuild the rooftop sign and to reinforce and repaint it, he said.

Minson, who recently received a promotion, is staying on until Hotel Grim's restoration is complete.

From an exterior standpoint, the buildings's south and west ends still need some limestone panel reproduction but the roof is in the dry.

Repair work for portions of the soffit that were rotted and gutter that needed repair work was done locally.

"As we are learning about Texarkana, you can find anything," he said.

Local companies and labor have been used for the elevator, Sheetrock, insulation, framing and heating/air conditioning, Minson said.

"It was important to us to spend our money here and hire from here," he said.

Minson continues to pay homage to the well-done work in the 1924 construction, with so much concrete and rebar.

"We continue to be so impressed by the guys who built this in 1924 and the amount of labor put into it," he said.

Accounts vary on whether the Hotel Grim was built in a year and a half to
three years.

Minson said with the amount of activity going on as the building was built, he suspects the construction site would have looked like attendance at a state fair.

Bob Bruggeman, Texarkana, Texas, mayor, said it was his first time to go into the building since demolition/restoration efforts began.

"I was very excited to take the tour today," he said. "They are doing a great job getting it renovated. Mr. Minson provided a detailed tour for everyone and we are very excited about what it will look like after it finishes."

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