Despite efforts to re-open the doors to the historic Baker Hotel in Mineral Wells, there has not been much success, until now.
Since its closing in 1972, residents of Mineral Wells have dreamed of the day the iconic Baker Hotel would one day re-open for business and on Thursday those dreams started to look more like a reality.
“We will begin the restoration of the baker hotel immediately,” developer Laird Fairchild said.
It has been more than four decades since the doors of the Grand Ol’ Lady have been opened and after a decade of planning, developers are excited to get the ball rolling on construction.
“We felt compelled, we felt like we owed it to the community, we felt like we owed it to the building, we felt like we owed it to the history,” developer Chad Patton said.
Patton and Fairchild among others have worked tirelessly for more than a decade to raise the finances and put restoration plans in place for this historic landmark, that included the passage of an economic development sales tax incentive plan but with the ups came some downs.
“When the EB5 opportunity fell apart, that was a multi-year project for us. It was hundreds of thousands of dollars of investments and we realized we had a significant amount of financial gap,” Patton said.
But that did not discourage developers, now having a restoration plan of $65 million.
“The combination of about $11 million in equity, about $15 million of debt the rest is all coming through historic tax credit at both the state and federal level, new market tax credits,” Fairchild said.
The 90-year-old building initially cost $1.2 million and goes 14 stories high with over 400 rooms, once complete in 2022, the newly renovated hotel will house 157 guest rooms, a Baker suite, a Presidential suite, a wellness spa, a restaurant, lounge and more.
This gem has seen some well-known faces such as Judy Garland, Clark Gable and even Bonnie and Clyde.
Once this project is complete, The Baker Hotel and Spa will provide more than 100 jobs, hiring first from the local community.
Back in time
In 2002, reporter Darrell Franklin traveled to Mineral Wells to learn more about the history of the old hotel that reigned for a quarter century as one of the most glamorous hotels in the nation from tour guide Robin Fletcher and hotel manager Jayne Catrett.
Watch that report below.
Also, a fun fact about “The Grand ‘Ol Lady,” the “Baker’s” pool was the very first swimming pool built in the state of Texas.