Thursday, December 29, 2005

Rehab of Florence's Silver King Hotel to resume

[Source: Florence Reminder staff reports] -- Members of the Florence Preservation Foundation, owners of the Silver King Hotel, are hopeful that the building's second phase of restoration can begin in the spring. This phase will include something the building has never had before - an elevator - and other things it hasn't had for many years, such as restrooms and second-floor balconies.

This work will be done with a federal T-21 grant of $500,000 through the Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT). The FPF used its first such grant to stabilize the building and put on a roof, windows and doors several years ago. The work covered by the second grant has been slow to begin, but FPF members believe it is close, according to Bonnie Bariola, secretary and grants manager. She said the State Historic Preservation Office had concerns about the first set of construction documents for phase two. But the FPF's architect has made corrections, and the FPF is now waiting for ADOT to send it a letter to proceed. The FPF hopes to receive the letter in early January, then go out for bids.

The balconies will help return the building to the way it looked in its heyday aroud the dawn of the 20th century. The restrooms will be in a new separate stuccoed building - but no ordinary outhouse, if Bariola has anything to say about it. "I want them to be attractive on the inside," she said. The restored building won't be an actual hotel again, at least not for a few years. The federal transportation funding being used to restore it carries a requirement that it be open to the public for at least five years. A lobby separates two sides of the bottom floor. The south side, off Sixth Street, could be good for a coffee shop, Bariola said, while the north side could work well as a mini-mall, with space leased to different vendors. Public offices are possible on the second floor.

The Silver King qualified for federal highway funding because of its historical importance to travelers. The hotel was a stop for the Texas & California Stage Company, the Globe & Florence Stage Line, and the Arizona Consolidated Stage & Livery Company. It contained the office of R.T. Jones Auto Stage and later was a Greyhound bus stop. [Photo source: Metropolis Design Group]