Marquette quick-fix put at $71,650

Tuesday, January 8, 2002

The city's planning department has estimated that it will cost $71,650 to make the downtown Marquette Hotel "secure," by doing such things as boarding up windows, repairing brick walls and reinforcing beams.

Planning director Kent Bratton submitted the preliminary figures to the Cape Girardeau City Council at Monday night's meeting.

Mayor Al Spradling III said the council will discuss the figures at its Jan. 21 meeting and decide whether to proceed. The city would do the work and send a tax bill to the condemned building's owner, Carol Bullock.

"If we do it, it will at least secure it," Spradling said. "I can't speak for the council, but the general attitude is that something needs to be done."

The 73-year-old building has fallen into a state of disrepair, and city officials feel it could be unsafe. The council has asked Bullock, who lives in Maryland, to submit a plan of how the building would be repaired.

Extensions ignored

Bullock has been given several extensions after ignoring city requests for plans and the most recent one expires Jan. 8.

The report says that windows should be boarded up because the metal frames are rusted and the wood framework is deteriorated and unprotected. The hotel's ballroom has holes in its roof and the brick wall on the east side of the building needs to be repaired.

The chimney on the northeast side of the building needs to be tuck-pointed and the clay tile roofing is loose and needs to be secured.

One other solution has been proposed: The vacant hotel could be renovated for office space, retail shops and restaurants and a company, Prost Builders seems prepared to do it.

The company has submitted a bid to the state for a 10-year lease at a price of $2.39 million. Missouri Gov. Bob Holden is asking for state office buildings to be given preference for offices, especially if they are historic. But that proposal isn't certain.

Councilman Butch Eggimann said he sees no other way but to do what is technically termed "mothballing" the building.

"We don't seem to be getting cooperation from the owner so what are we supposed to do?" Eggimann said. "This way it'd be safe."

335-6611, extension 137

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