By Kevin Wilson: CNJ staff writer
Work is still remaining on the Hotel Clovis, but it’s no longer an environmental hazard to walk through the long-closed building.
A boiler is still to be removed from the building, Community Development Director Claire Burroughes said Monday, and the next step will be to complete negotiations with Tierra Realty of Taos to get the building, closed since 1983, back into use as a mixture of businesses and apartments.
“We’re very happy with it,” said Michael Nieman, environmental division manager at GranCor. “You’re now able to walk through the building without wearing respirators and you’re able to walk through every room. Also, it’s been further protected so no pigeons will get back in.”
Through grant money, the city tasked GranCor to remove pigeon waste, asbestos and lead-based paint. Nieman said the cleanup was formally finished May 22, and the company is currently finishing a separate task order to remove a boiler from the basement.
Burroughes said a walkthrough was done Thursday with officials from the city, GranCor and Encinias Environmental of Albuquerque.
“The environmental cleanup was a success,” said Paul Encinias, president of Encinias Environmental. “As of Thursday of last week, we released the property to the city of Clovis.”
Terry Martin, a Clovis building inspector, filled in for Director of Building Safety Pete Wilt, who was injured in a fall down an elevator shaft last Tuesday at the hotel.
Clovis Police Chief Steve Sanders said an investigation of the fall has revealed little.
“It just appears to be a freak accident,” Sanders said. “We have not had a chance to interview the two parties.” Sanders added it’s his understanding neither Wilt nor 35-year-old John Smith of Portales remembers much about the fall.
Burroughes said the city is currently working with Stephen Crozier of Tierra Realty on a $13 million redevelopment agreement, with a maximum city investment of $500,000. She is hopeful it can be presented for city commission approval before the end of July.
City Purchasing Agent David Boswell has previously said the building, owned by the city since 2004, would likely have the bottom two floors dedicated to businesses and the top seven floors to housing apartments.