We’re all too familiar with how the exterior of the old hotel buildings looks, and if you checked out any of the video clips of the building walk thru last week, you’ve got a sense for what awaits Mr. Burbick on the inside.
Clearly, in and out needs a lot of work. Assuming the building passes the structurally sound test (which it appears that it has), it’s no small step from there to a functional and relevant building in a modern sense — those little things like working plumbing and an elevator might matter to future tenants.
Like a lot of things, if it was easy someone would have already done it, but just because it’s hard doesn’t mean it’s impossible. One architect pointed out that lots of things are improbable when it comes to conventional restoration of the old hotel — which is why it sat like it has for so many years — but it’s not impossible as Mr. Burbick intends to prove.
We’ve all seen what falls off of Mr. Burbick’s dreaming tree — little Acorn Alley 1 and Acorn Alley 2. The question is can Ron pull another acorn out of his hat?
That’s what we wrestled with as a City — we didn’t want to set Ron, or anyone else for that matter, up to fail with a Herculean task that exceeded our oversized aspirations.
However, at the end of the day, with a lot of help from friends, we came to the conclusion that restoring the old hotel is possible, however impractical it may appear. Part of that confidence comes from watching how the little town of Galion Ohio took their own dilapitated hometown hotel and brought it back to life.
Believe it or not, the Galion hotel was actually in worse shape, and yet it turned out great. If they can do it, why not Kent?
Here’s a little pictoral comparison of the Kent and Galion hotels. Notice how much worse the exterior of the Galion hotel was — large chunks of the building were missing and the roof had even more holes than the floors. And on the interior, the Kent Hotel walls and doors and etc. have already been excavated and removed whereas Galion’s hotel was a maze of junk. Also, the columns in Kent’s hotel are larger and appear to be in comparatively better shape.
All of which leads us to cling to the hope that salvaging this building is a cause worth supporting.
If you’re interested, I’ve provided a link to a powerpoint that outlines the Galion Hotel project: Galion Ohio PowerPoint Story