I hope y’all can make it to the ribbon cutting for the new King Edward Hotel on Thursday morning at 10 AM. I’ve only been waiting for this for 13 years, but I know many of you out there have been waiting for 20, 30 and even 40 years (without implying in any way that you are old! :-)
There’s been lots of publicity leading up to the big events, both in the Jackson and the national hotel industry press.
In Lodging Hospitality Online, the headline reads “King Edward to Rise Again” and the article (helpfully pointed out on MHT’s Facebook page) gives an inside scoop by the architect on exactly what changes the building has undergone in the renovation:
How much is left from the original 1923 building?
We pretty much gutted everything inside the hotel. The (lobby) floor is the original marble floor of 1923. We did not tear that out. The floor is original and there is the historic staircase (in the lobby) with some pickets that formed a decorative area above the stairs. We took that down, the cast iron, and restored it and put it back into place. Those are the two original pieces from the hotel.
What were some of those features you needed to keep or reproduce for the tax credits?
They said the columns in the lobby had to be reproduced. We didn’t have to restore them, but they wanted to see that the plaster columns had the same character and detail … We took rubber molds and then reproduced those columns … The guestrooms had to have wood trim around the windows. There were some old stone granite shower stalls in the building and we had to incorporate one of those pieces in one shower … just their nod to say this is a historic building. There was a lot of plaster cast arches over doors, which we didn’t save, but we made rubber molds and repeated them. We had to restore the (lobby) staircase.
The Clarion-Ledger ran two really good articles yesterday, one about the memories and impressions of one-time visitors and long-term occupants of the hotel (“Rebirth of a Landmark: Visitors recall King Edward’s heyday“) and the other about the staff working to get everything ready for the first of hopefully many new visitors beginning Thursday (“Renovation creates new memories“). The articles also have associated videos of interviews and the hotel’s interior which I know you’ll want to check out, although of course not on your employer’s time or computer.
The Jackson Free Press even made the manager Miro Lago (which is a totally cool name) its Person of the Day a couple of weeks ago:
“I’m kind of familiar with old buildings,” Lago said. “I’ve worked a lot of hotels, and to get historic property like this—an antique, basically—and have it put into brand new condition is like getting a 1955 Cadillac that’s 100-percent restored, and just walking up and starting the engine. It’s just an incredible feeling.”
I know some of us, including me, have expressed disappointment with the interior treatment of the hotel (“King Edward Update“), but this re-opening is truly one of the most exciting events in recent Jackson history, and represents many years of dogged persistence by preservationists to keep the building standing long enough to see this day. I’ll be out there cheering on Thursday, and I’ll get back to you with pictures after the big event.
If you haven’t seen the inside yet, click here for a set of photos I took at MHT’s 10 Most Endangered List unveiling a couple of months ago.