City receives grant to help clean up Hotel Clovis

By Gabriel Monte: CNJ Staff Writer

The city received a $200,000 federal grant Monday to help detoxify the former Hotel Clovis.

The Environmental Protection Agency awards the grant to help fund projects that clean up run down properties for redevelopment, according to Tressa Tillman, a spokeswoman for the agency.

The city applied for the grant in October, according to community relations director Claire Burroughes. In the grant, the city said once the nine-story building was cleaned up it plans to redevelop the property into an affordable senior housing complex with ground-floor retail space.

“That is the one we have been told, in discussions with developers, that is the most viable solution to the hotel’s situation,” she said.

She said developers have expressed interest in the property in the past, but not until the city has cleaned up the former hotel.

The estimated abatement cost is at least $700,000 according to Burroughes.

The city, which also received about $80,000 from the state’s economic development department, will try to raise the rest of the money to clean up the property through additional grants, Burroughes said.

“Hotel Clovis has negative equity in it now, it’s upside down, it has no value as it stands today,” Burroughes said. “In order for it to be a viable project for anyone, we need to try and get it to a point where somebody might be interested in doing something with it.”

The south Main Street property was used as a hotel from 1931 until it closed in the 1980s. The site is contaminated with asbestos, lead paint and rodent droppings, according to city officials.

The city assumed ownership of the property in November 2004.

In June, Clovis MainStreet representatives presented city commissioners with a plan to work with Albuquerque-based developer Jonathan Reed & Associates to redevelop the hotel into an affordable housing project for seniors. The project was estimated to cost about $10 million, with $1 million coming from the city and Clovis MainStreet. The project stalled, MainStreet Executive Director Robyne Beaubien reported in December.