|By Richard Metcalf, Albuquerque Journal,
N.M.McClatchy-Tribune Regional News
May 27, 2009--The historic Memorial Hospital, vacant for two years, will begin in the next two weeks a multimillion-dollar transformation into Parq Central, a boutique hotel with 74 rooms and a rooftop lounge.
"It's taken two years to get all the approvals," said David Oberstein of Memorial Ventures, the project developer. "One of the things that's been most gratifying is everybody involved says, 'I just love that property.' "
The exteriors of the three existing buildings, which total about 44,000 square feet, won't change but the interiors will be gutted and rebuilt, he said. Parq Central is scheduled to open in the summer of 2010.
The large elms on the property will be removed, with new trees planted. "It's unfortunate, but the trees are old and in their final stages," he said.
Oberstein declined to give the budgeted cost of the renovation, saying it was still a working number.
"It's expensive because it's an historic structure," he said. "You could tear it down and build an exact replica for cheaper."
A main source of funding will be $14 million in industrial revenue bonds approved by the City Council in February. New Markets Tax Credits, available for projects in designated low-income areas, and Historic Rehabilitation Tax Credits will also be used. Los Alamos National Bank is providing the primary financing.
"Financing has certainly been a challenge," Oberstein said. "We've put together a package that makes sense to all concerned."
Built in 1926 by the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railroad, Memorial Hospital sits on 2.3 acres -- a city block -- at 803 Central SE near Interstate 25. The facility closed as a conventional hospital in 1982 but continued in use, most recently as a psychiatric hospital for children and teens, until 2007.
The building was unsuccessfully put up for sale in 2007 by Oberstein, Marc Bertram and other investors in Memorial Ventures at an asking price of $4.6 million.
The opening phase of the renovation will focus on demolition, and some asbestos and lead paint abatement. The project will include a courtyard on the south side of the property and extensive gardens. One new building housing three "casitas," or guest units, will be constructed.
The four-story-high rooftop bar and lounge, which will have a small kitchen serving appetizers, will have a panoramic view of the Downtown skyline, Oberstein said.
To see more of the Albuquerque Journal, or to subscribe to the newspaper, go to http://www.abqjournal.com.
Copyright (c) 2009, Albuquerque Journal, N.M.
Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services. For reprints, email email@example.com, call 800-374-7985 or 847-635-6550, send a fax to 847-635-6968, or write to The Permissions Group Inc., 1247 Milwaukee Ave., Suite 303, Glenview, IL 60025, USA.