By Christina Calloway
PNT senior writer
City officials are excited to move forward with plans to turn the former Portales Inn into workforce housing.
The Portales City Council authorized Portales City Manager Doug Redmond to sign a global agreement Tuesday night at its meeting that allows the city to act as a facilitator for the project. Redmond signed the agreement Wednesday.
“We don’t want it to just sit there and do nothing,” said Redmond of the former historic hotel. “The building, as it is now, is becoming an eyesore.”
The estimated $12 million project is expected to be complete in May of 2016.
The most recent owner of the building, Bob Morrow with the Maxwell group, had plans to renovate the building and sell it but Morrow died in May.
Morrow’s death suspended any plans for the building, according to Redmond, until just recently when the council allowed the city to accept title of the building and let the city’s attorneys negotiate with possible buyer Steve Crozier of Tierra Realty, who owns Hotel Clovis.
Redmond said the city will temporarily be in possession of the building, until about May, while Crozier works on obtaining housing funds.
Redmond added the city has no funds tied to the project and reiterated that it is just the facilitator of the process. But, according to Redmond, the city will still see benefits.
“We need more affordable housing,” Redmond said, “and this will generate 68 new housing units and that will be 68 more households in town supporting local business.”
Redmond said he appreciated Roosevelt County Community Development Corp. President Randy Knudson for being patient and working to make sure something would happen with the hotel.
Knudson said the hotel will help the aesthetics of the downtown area and notes the project will not result in taxes to Portales residents.
“We think it’s a win-win for the community and for the developer,” Knudson said.
“(Crozier) built a number of projects across New Mexico that all have been well-received by the municipalities in the cities they’re in.”
Knudson said there is a shortage of affordable housing in Portales and the hotel will create room for people wishing to locate here.
“We think it’s a great thing,” Knudson said. “It’s going to be a benefit to the local downtown businesses too, anything within walking distance.”
Knudson added he hopes the housing will attract people from Cannon Air Force Base as well as students from Eastern New Mexico University.