The Eastern New Mexico News - Serving Clovis, Portales and the Surrounding Communities

Portales Inn handed over for redevelopment

 

March 10, 2017

Orlando Ortega

A project participation agreement between the City of Portales and Ambience Hospitality was approved at Tuesday night's Portales City Council meeting for redevelopment of the Portales Inn building to a Best Western Plus hotel. Completion of the project was estimated by City Manager Sammy Standefer to take a year to 18 months.

PORTALES — The Portales City Council approved an agreement giving the Portales Inn building, parking lot and a $500,000 incentive to Albuquerque-based Ambience Hospitality for the redevelopment of the hotel.

"I think this has a very vital impact to our community, as well as our downtown area. It's really big, and really could be a great addition to our community," said City Manager Sammy Standefer.

The hotel will be a Best Western Plus — a "higher-end chain," according to Standefer — with a timeline for completion estimated at a year to 18 months.

The project is estimated to cost under $4 million, and payments will be based on milestones throughout the process, according to Standefer.

He emphasized the economic impacts a hotel in the city center will bring to Portales.

"One thing we have learned over the past public improvements, they do bring an impact to the area, and a lot of times you do see growth, and you do see blight diminished in areas where we see public improvements. That's another great incentive for this project," he said.

Councilor Oscar Robinson, whose first night in Portales was spent in the Portales Inn in 1985, commended City Attorney Randy Knudson and Roosevelt County Community Development Corporation Economic Developer Orlando Ortega for their work with Ambience Hospitality.

"I love Portales Inn, because my first night in this town was in that hotel. I think we don't give you guys enough credit for what you did. Of all the dreamers that came into this town, you finally found a real person (to redevelop the Portales Inn), and I appreciate it," said Robinson.

The following were actions taken at the Portales City Council meeting Tuesday in the Memorial Building:

• Councilors approved a presentation of the fiscal year 2015-2016 audit, in which no issues were found.

Dahlia Garcia, a senior accountant with Las Cruces-based certified public accountants Beasley, Mitchell and Co., said her firm's opinion was that Portales' financial statements had been presented fairly.

Garcia noted that in 2015 the city had two findings - a late submission of a data collection form and an internal control issue in the information technology department - that were resolved in the 2016 audit, with no additional findings.

• Councilors approved the ratification of bills for February 2017.

$1.9 million was expended in February, according to Finance Director Marilyn Rapp.

"A big item that was on here was we did pay the Ute Water dues. Those were $336,102. The other items were just normal operating expenses of the city," she said.

• Councilors approved a resolution allowing the mayor to apply for hardship funds through the New Mexico Department of Transportation.

Public Works Director John DeSha said the resolution would allow the city to apply to participate in an auction held by NMDOT, where officials would receive a voucher worth $25,000 and be able to buy two pieces of equipment.

"We've gotten a really nice street broom and a compressor the first year. Last year, we got a dump truck," said DeSha.

• Councilors approved a resolution allowing the city to apply for local government road funds for the 2018 fiscal year through NMDOT.

DeSha noted that a section of Seventh Street may be more likely to receive funding from the NMDOT.

"That's a continuation project, something that we've already started. We got word from the Department of Transportation that they're very interested in funding those types of projects," he said.

Other projects would include concrete work and installing new asphalt on roads including Fifth Street, Sixth Street, Avenue D, and University Drive, according to DeSha.

• Councilors approved a resolution drafted by the city's finance committee to pledge a portion of the city's net revenues from its water system to the Eastern New Mexico Water Utility Authority to pay its existing loans.

"It's not contingent on future loans. The finance committee wanted us to look at just the work that's been done for those loans. We prepared a resolution that would satisfy us, as far as that existing debt," Standefer said.

The resolution entailed a commitment to pay the $3.1 million in loans owed to the authority at a rate of $40,466 a year, and is based on an amortization schedule, according to Standefer, which means that when the loans expire, the payments would decrease.

• Councilors approved a resolution allowing the city to amend a loan agreement with the New Mexico Environment Department collateralizing $26.5 million in wastewater construction loans, thus making it easier for the city to apply for other loans.

 

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