Grand Island, NE -- A multimillion dollar project that was supposed to build a hotel in Downtown Grand Island is now scrapped.
A recent $12 million plan that would have changed a stretch of buildings on North Locust St. into a luxury hotel was abandoned by the developer due to lack of funding, costing the city of Grand Island a great opportunity for a tourism spot.
The project, that was announced in May, would have built a 60 room boutique hotel, The Nebraskan Hotel, to attract high end tourists to the area. However, developer Zachary Zoul said he could not get the funding in time.
He said in a statement to 10/11, "We got halfway there in terms of the necessary investment funds, but 'halfway' does not get the job done."
Local businesses were not the only ones excited about the possibility. Even potential new stores that would have built around the Nebraskan hotel were looking forward to it.
"It generated a tremendous amount of excitement and we fielded a few calls that we forwarded on to the developers of people that had ideas for maybe adding onto or peripheral businesses that might sprout up, I mean you have something like that little coffee shops and those types of things are going to percolate into those streets around there to try to service those folks that are there," said Brad Mellema, the Executive Director of the Grand Island Convention & Visitors Bureau.
The Grand Island Chamber of Commerce and the Convention and Convention and Visitors Bureau said it did not feel like a loss because the project was never fully approved.
Also affected by the loss is the contractor hired to build the hotel.
"Well we're a little disappointed, it would have been really nice to have something like that downtown in Grand Island and Central Nebraska. But it was a big project, there was a lot of moving parts involved and it just didn't come together," said Amos Anson of Famos Construction.
The next step according to Anson will be to create about ten lofts in the Masonic Temple, which was the original plan before The Nebraskan Hotel.
"The Nebraskan Hotel certainly got a lot more excitement about it because there was a lot of things involved. But people are definitely interested in lofts downtown, everyone's excited. It's always neat to live in something different and there's not many options for different in Grand Island," said Anson.
To build the lofts, first Anson requires $420,000 in grants. The potential is something the Grand Island Convention and Convention and Visitors Bureau is excited about.
"Residences in Downtown are another step in creating a vibrant Downtown Grand Island area and so we are supportive of those efforts and hope that they're successful," said Mellema.
Some believe the idea of a luxury hotel is not out of the picture yet.
Mellema said, "Would we have loved to see this project be a go? Absolutely! I think it could have been defining for our town. Will someone else come along with a similar type project in the future? Not sure, I have a feeling that there might be."
Zoul said, "There remains the possibility that some potential investors not previously identified might step forward and in that case, we will continue our efforts."