|By Christie Smythe, The Arizona Daily
Star, TucsonMcClatchy-Tribune Regional News
July 10, 2008 - The Americana Motor Hotel in Nogales, Ariz., will soon lose its Formica countertops and other vestiges of earlier decades.
An investment group that specializes in older hotels purchased the property for about $3.5 million earlier this month and plans to make numerous upgrades to the longtime Nogales landmark.
Michael Clausen, manager of Americana Nogales LLC, said his company specializes in refurbishing older hotels. He and other investors in the group previously owned hotels in Tombstone, Prescott and Yuma.
Clausen said the group expects to spend about $1 million in renovations to the Americana, including upgrades to plumbing and heating-and-cooling systems as well as replacing Formica countertops with granite.
The group will also drop "Motor" from the name and call the property the "Americana Hotel."
Clausen said he was familiar with the hotel after stopping in Nogales on trips to Mexico. He said he "always liked the place."
"I thought it was in need of some work to live up to its potential," he said.
"It had been let go pretty badly, maintenancewise."
The 97-room hotel at 639 N. Grand Ave. was built more than 30 years ago.
It has a ballroom, meeting rooms, a restaurant and a bar -- which Clausen said he plans to convert into a "lounge."
Renovations will likely begin in about a month and will take about six months, he said.
The hotel has 17 employees, but Clausen said he hopes to increase that number to 30 "once we're renovated and gaining more business."
Clausen said he expects business for the hotel to grow as people from Tucson, Phoenix and other nearby areas look for vacation spots closer to home.
--Contact reporter Christie Smythe at 434-4083 or email@example.com.
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