Created: Mon, 21 Oct 2013 05:29:00 CST
Updated: Mon, 21 Oct 2013 07:08:56 CST
Just this May, CEO of Hospitality Advisors Group Zachary Zoul stood in front of dozens, announcing the group was setting out to build a $12,000,000, four diamond hotel in Grand Island.
An announcement that sparked excitement for the future of downtown.
"I thought maybe it would bring more meetings of people from out of town, looking for a nice place to meet," said Sheere Gleason, who works at Clutter Bug Antiques and has worked downtown for years.
And more people means more business. But now Zoul has said The Nebraskan Hotel project is off. He told News 5 he was unable to secure the necessary funding. A much less exciting announcement, but one that didn't come as a surprise.
"No, because I thought it was a lot of money and I thought it would be a lot of work," said Gleason.
"To take a building of that age in the downtown area takes the right investor with the right vision and the financial ability to make those things happen and sometimes those things are kind of an uphill climb," added Randy Gard, President of the Grand Island Area Economic Development Corporation.
Now, outside of the masonic temple, where blueprints for the four diamond hotel once stood, the windows are bare. Ready for new plans.
And what kind of plans is downtown in need of? One that The Nebraskan Hotel would have been-- an anchor.
"A business that has other businesses inside of it that really creates the economic center to really make a downtown redevelopment really take off and grow," explained Gard.
Gard said there are talks of other anchors coming to town--but all of those plans are too young to be announced.
And as Grand Island pushes to revitalize downtown, the failed Nebraskan Hotel is just another curveball.
"Whether you hit a home run and get an anchor or hit a bunch of singles, so to speak, and get a lot of small businesses that genuinely have the will and the desire to be downtown, I think you can get there either way," said Gard.
There is some good news for the city. Over the past year, there's been a growth in sales, food and beverage and gas taxes-- a feat not many cities can claim.
Calls from News 5 to project manager Amos Anson went unanswered. The Independent reports he will move forward with high-end, modern lofts in the building.