The biggest announcement coming from last Friday's State of the Community meeting in Mineral Wells was regarding renovation of the Baker Hotel. Chad Patton, with Merrill Lynch and the Baker Hotel development team, announced an anticipated start time for the renovation and remodeling of the hotel. "We feel confident in saying to you, we could be starting construction before the end of the year," he said. There are some caveats to that start date - primarily a $4 million bond election for Mineral Wells residents. "We're hoping for an election in May," he said. "This is the final piece." He said he has worked with City Manager Lance Howerton and Mayor Mike Allen to draft the particulars of the bond proposal and it is ready for consideration by the voters. It must be approved by the Mineral Wells City Council to be placed on the May ballot. Construction is estimated to cost just over $56 million. Patton explained that once completed, the hotel's value will only be $30-$35 million, which has led to complications in funding the project. However, the development team has been approved for various state and federal grants to assist in economic development, historical preservation, asbestos and lead abatement and more. Patton said construction will need about 350 workers which he said the contractor has committed to hiring locally. Once completed, the hotel will have a full-time staff of 137. Patton said the Baker Hotel, when completed, will generate about $10 million in tax revenues.


Rooms, planned to be 155, will cost $165 per night. There will also be a spa with mineral waters, yoga and more, available for membership; a club and more. "The Baker suite will remain intact," he said. An estimated completion date, if construction begins this year, is 2-1/2 to three years. "We're looking at potentially 2017," said Patton.