Barbershop reopens as inn renovation continues

Argen Duncan

With the renovation of Portales Inn continuing, the first floor dining establishments and ballroom are scheduled to open in late summer or early fall.

Yantie’s Barber Shop has been operating there for about two months and it is the first business to open in the inn.

Bob Morrow, managing member of Maxwell Group LLC, said he expected to start work on the rooms in late summer and continue throughout the year.

The Maxwell Group consortium of professionals began work on the inn, which they plan to rename “The Grand,” last year.

Construction Superintendent Doug Hutchison said the work had progressed a lot in the five months he’s been on the project.

“We’re moving along as fast as we can,” he said.

Hutchison is looking for an experienced carpenter and a couple of laborers now, and expects to need more help when room remodeling starts.

According to figures Morrow provided, the hotel is expected to bring in $2.56 million in its first year and more than $3.2 million during the fifth year. The Grand is expected to have a staff of 26 and a payroll of $800,000.

Morrow said workers would pave the parking lot in the fall, creating an outdoor dining area in the process. He also plans an outdoor causal dining area serving barbecue.

The fine dining room, called First Ladies, will feature “reasonably priced comfort foods” and a gallery with photographs of every U.S. first lady, Morrow said.

The beer and wine bar, dubbed Teddy’s after Theodore Roosevelt, will have a hunting lodge theme, Morrow said. He would like to expand to a full liquor license when one becomes available, he hopes after the first of the year.

Morrow plans to name the bistro and coffee shop “Dolly’s,” after the nation’s fourth first lady, Dolly Madison. Donna Morgan of Portales is set to operate the establishment.

The food is designed to fit niches not already filled, he said.

For the ballroom, called “The Roosevelt Room,” Morrow hopes to have a soft grand opening with a New Year’s Eve party. In the future, he would like to show free movies there.

As for the rooms, Morrow said they would be a little larger than most hotel rooms and have four-poster beds, rocking chairs, wood floors and Oriental rugs.

“So we’re trying to do some things that are kind of fun and different and have the level of comfort that’s a little above the normal hotel room, but not overdo it,” Morrow said.

With the electrical and mechanical systems, Morrow said, designers probably saved $300,000 by investigating ways to save money.

Planners are looking into a heating and cooling system with a small heat pump in every room and 60 percent to 70 percent energy savings. Morrow said it’s a unique set-up for a U.S. hotel and will be a case study.

Along with supplementing the hot water and emergency lighting systems with solar energy, Morrow expects to install an Otis elevator, which generates power when it comes down.

“We’ve been able to take the time to really think (the energy and mechanical systems) through,” Morrow said. “Some of the systems are more expensive but the energy savings is really dramatic.”