** UPDATE **
According to our sources, the City Hotel was sold to Jeff Cox and Doug Decker and is no longer owned by Nick Heir. The City Hotel has not been condemned. A structrual survey was conducted in July and the structural engineer found the hotel to be structurally sound.
The first building that marked our Town as the seat for Douglas County in 1887 – it was brought over by the Harris brothers, the only way possible in those days, on log rollers, from neighboring New Memphis, nearly two miles away.
Then, known as the Harris Hotel, it was prospered from the two railroads that ran through Castle Rock. It became a convenient place for travelers to stay when they came into Town.
Over the past century, though the hotel has changed hands, it has remained as a historical reflection of our colorful past. Having also experienced a number of additions, a destructive fire in 1902 that damaged some of the northwest portion, it now proudly wears the badge of a historical landmark.
Today, the ghost of the once bustling City Hotel, is a tenant occupied building, that most will agree, has seen better days. “The (one bedroom) units are rough. The hotel has been mostly fixed with band aids because we’ve had to do a lot of internal gas work and plumbing has been a nightmare,” said City Hotel Owner/Manager, Nick Hier, of Hier & Company.
Hier acquired the hotel at the end of 2012, when he came across what he thought was an amazing deal. “The bank (FirsTier Bank) that had the original loan on the City Hotel went under and completely collapsed. They then went to the FDIC who sold all the loans to investors. I bought the loan (on the hotel) a discount,” Hier recalls.
However, the transaction leading him to become the new owner of the hotel – and it’s 32 spaces of parking – didn’t work out quite as expected. It wasn’t until later that Heir realized how much debt the property had incurred. “I did it somewhat as a favor to retain the parking for the properties I was managing,” Hier continued, “Now I’m no longer managing the properties and now I have this building.
Even still, with all the new construction and plans for modernizing downtown, Hier says there are no current plans to erase the footprint of the City Hotel. “It’s an amazing location. It’s a really cool building. With the right restoration, you could definitely retain its historical nature.”
But because of its age, material makeup and past owner neglect, preserving the building isn’t going to be easy task. “It’s outdated and there are tons of inefficiencies. We are in a situation where were trying to find financing avenues or assistance to redevelop it and keeps its historic integrity.”
Those plans are music to the ears of those who feel strongly about preserving the history of Castle Rock. Bob Lowenberg, board member on the Town’s Historic Preservation Board and author of “Castle Rock: A Grass Roots History” knows the importance of saving a historical construction. “You don’t have a way of knowing where you are if you don’t know where you have been,” commented Lowenberg. “It was and is an important building to Castle Rock. That’s why it was moved here originally from New Memphis.”
Although he understands from experience, that plans can sometimes change; even for those with the best intentions. “Money is always the bottom line so what happens may depend on the cost behind the restoration that has to be done,” Lowenberg said.
For now, Hier seems to be on the same page. He is confident that he will revisit plans for the City Hotel in the near future, once various new projects give him some time to focus on next steps. “I’m hoping to talk about redevelopment plans in the next six months.” he smiles, “It will be expensive but we are going to try our best to tap into various funding mechanisms to help us with restoring the hotel.”