Howerton believes that an improving economy, coupled with a growing Metroplex full of people with expendable incomes and the growth of “heritage tourism” all make the Baker an attractive investment and appealing project, more so than ever before. He compared Mineral Wells, with a renovated Baker, to the City of Granbury, which attracts a great deal of weekend tourism to shop in the historic town square and stay at hotels on the lake.
Also key to the hotel’s attraction will be special event hosting, including weddings, homecoming events, graduation events, weekday business meetings and the like. Fairchild said the hotel will offer a significant amount of “meet-and-greet space” and its proximity to the Metroplex will only help to attract such group business.
Fairchild said the renovation will be a long process – with cleanup and abatement, alone, lasting nine months to a year and the construction lasting about two years. Once underway, the process will benefit Mineral Wells significantly. Fairchild added that the project’s general construction partner out of Austin, Mark Rawlings, is “determined to utilize local workforce, as much as possible,” throughout the entire restoration process. Then, once the Baker is finished and operational, it will generate a whole new crop of local jobs, as well.
With every day that passes, Fairchild grows closer to making his dream, and the collective dream of Mineral Wells, a reality. He is only about $25 million short of reaching the estimated $55 million needed for the project and is quickly discovering just how important the task he has undertaken is.
“I can’t tell you the number of phone calls, emails and Facebook posts I get about the hotel and people already wanting to reserve rooms,” he said. “Obviously the hotel has an incredible following. I’m very excited.”
It truly is an exciting time for Mineral Wells. One can only hope that the rebirth of the city’s most iconic structure will trigger a renaissance of prosperity for the near future, unmatched even by the glory days of Mineral Wells’ “Crazy” past.