Grants will make cleanup of Hotel Clovis possible

By Kevin Wilson: CNJ staff writer

The first step toward the redevelopment of Hotel Clovis is on the horizon.

Clovis MainStreet announced Thursday it landed a $300,000 grant from its state-level organization to aid in the removal of asbestos from the landmark. The grant comes from a New Mexico MainStreet pool of $1 million.

Combined with two other grants, the city holds $635,000 — an amount Clovis MainStreet Director Robyne Baubien believes will be enough to completely remove asbestos, lead paint and pigeon waste from the defunct hotel.

“I feel very strongly this remediation puts us in a strong position to go out for a developer,” Baubien said. “I believe we will see something in the next year.”

Asbestos removal could take place as early as mid-October, said Clovis Community Relations Director Claire Burroughes. She said a proposal for the asbestos removal may be on the agenda for the Oct. 2 Clovis City Commission meeting.

Any proposal must fall in line with requirements of the Environmental Protection Agency, which provided a $240,000 Brownfield Grant earlier this year.

The remaining money comes from an $85,000 grant from MainStreet last year.

The city, which took ownership of Hotel Clovis four years ago, is trying to attract a private company to develop it. The hotel opened in 1931.

City officials have previously said the goal is to treat the city-owned hotel as a project similar to 801 Housing, where the government would give tax credits to a developer to help offset renovation costs.

Asbestos removal helps make the project more attractive for developers. The issue hasn’t ended conversations with developers in the past, Burroughes said, but calling it an obstacle would be accurate.

“Most developers are aware of the asbestos,” Burroughes said. “While it’s not a roadblock, the cost of having to do that as well as the rest of the revitalization is not insignificant.”

The city has operated with a 2012 demolition date if nothing is done with the hotel.

“The revitalization of the Hotel Clovis is key in assisting economic development in the downtown area,” Clovis Mayor Gayla Brumfield said in a release.