Local historians might one day refer to the Renaissance Period as that time between 2018 and 2022 AD when Mineral Wells transitioned from a town struggling to find its way to one of sudden rebirth and growth led by the historic renovations of two previously shuttered downtown hotel buildings.
While the Baker Hotel is undergoing its estimated $65 million restoration, currently leading the way is the Crazy Water Hotel a few blocks away with its multi-million dollar renovation and restoration project.
The Crazy Water Hotel on Thursday evening opened its doors to shareholders and invited guests to tour the progress and see the nearly complete seventh-floor ballroom and rooftop patio overlooking the downtown area. A brief business meeting for the Public Benefits Corporation, formed to bring in what now stands at 75 investors, also took place including election of officers.
The event came a day before the ballroom is scheduled to host its first event, a private party on Friday evening. That is just the beginning. Cody Jordan, of RM Nix LLC, said public and private events are already scheduled for the ballroom into January.
The major first public event taking place in the Crazy Water Hotel is the New Year’s Eve Gala on Dec. 31.
Jordan said people or groups interested in renting the ballroom can call 940-325-1406 for more information.
Project architect Tim Hopkins said the ballroom and upper floor work, including the rooftop patio, is about 90 percent complete and that they received their certificate of occupancy to host events. Work on the main floor lobby and pavilion are is underway and about three-quarters complete.
He said the next major undertaking is work on floors two through six – essentially the short- and long-term living units. He said those drawings are complete and have been turned over to the city, with work scheduled to begin next month.
Hopkins was asked what it is like for him to serve as project architect, along with his wife, Amy, who is the interior design architect.
“It’s an architect’s dream,” he said. “One, this is my hometown. I grew up here, graduated from Mineral Wells High School in ‘84. To be able to be a part of this project, I describe it as this is my bottom of the ninth, two outs, at the plate and you hit a grand slam for a home run. This is that type of feeling, to be able to be a part of this type of project.”
Hopkins is balancing restoring the 92-year-old building’s historic look with modernization where needed and appropriate.
“I tell people it’s like drinking from a firehose,” Hopkins said. “To understand the historic aspects about this building, and to compliment those, and to restore those, and doing the research. It has helped us tremendously to have the original drawings. That has helped us a lot.”
The ballroom was completely redone and was not able to restored to its original look because “it was pretty devastated,” Hopkins said.
He said public areas in the hotel like hallways, corridors, the lobby and pavilion, are being restored as much as possible to retain their original looks and feel, while apartments and living units will be updated.
“We have paid tribute to what it was and we have tried to put a little bit of modern edge to it,” Hopkins said. “All the apartments will have a modern feel to it, but in the corridors we will be historic. We have really tried to bring that part back to life so people can really appreciate what this hotel was in the late ‘20s and all the way through the ‘70s.”
He said the project, costing between $8 million and $10 million, is still on target for completion by late 2020.
While the project is still open to secondary investors, the next step is securing traditional financing for the project. Project Chief Financial Officer Tim Corzine stated he is working on putting that together,which he said will occur in two phases.
“I have talked to local banks in the area and they have all showed interest in putting a bid out for it,” Corzine told shareholders and guests Thursday. “I look forward to putting out a financial bid packet hopefully by the end of this month.”
Recognitions at Thursday’s event included project general contractor Mike Tincher, along with his son, Matt, for their work and keeping the project on schedule.
Randy and Misty Nix purchased the property last year, largely to keep it from becoming a low-housing rental property which had been rumored. The Nixes felt that was not the best use in a downtown area that is undergoing major change and improvements.
Built in 1927 with just over 200 rooms, by the time the remodel is complete there will be about 88 rooms. Nix said some of the apartment spaces are already pre-leased.
The restored hotel will bring back the water pavilion and include a brew house and top-scale restaurant.
The Nixes formed a Crazy Water Hotel Public Benefit Corporation to bring in like-minded shareholders sharing in the overall vision of the project, placing importance on benefit to the community as well as providing a return on investment.
Public benefit is identified as having “a positive effect, or a reduction of a negative effect, on one or more categories of persons, entities, communities or interests, other than shareholders in their capacities as shareholders, including effects of an artistic, charitable, cultural, economic, educational, environmental, literary, medical, religious, scientific, or technological nature.”
With the Baker Hotel & Spa project scheduled to reopen in the fall of 2022, the Crazy Water Hotel will give the city something sorely lacking at present – a special events center.
Closed for much of this decade, the hotel was last used as a retirement property before management and a multitude of issues forced its closure.
Nix afterward again praised the investors who have stepped in and joined in helping to bring the hotel back to life. He said they saw the vision” and “took a leap of faith.”
Investors interested in more information or a copy of the project’s prospectus can contact Randy or Misty Nix at 940-325-1406 or write the corporation at 103 S.E. 1st Street, Mineral Wells, TX 76067.