It's finally happening. For 25 years, different owners talked about different plans to restore Tulsa's historic Mayo Hotel, but they never got started. Now, work has begun.
The News On 6's Steve Berg reports the Snyder Family bought the hotel about six years ago. Where others failed, they've succeeded.
The construction elevator is fastened into place like a jumbo-sized child's toy, but the restoration is for real this time.
"We're extremely excited. This has been in the works for a long time," said Mayo's Macy Snyder
Snyder says some longtime Tulsans have been moved to tears when they've come by to see the work that's going on.
"The history of the Mayo is important to pretty much everybody in Tulsa, so we're excited that we can bring it back," said Snyder.
There were no tears on Friday though, just sweat. Most of the demolition work on the floors is complete and architect Joel Slaughter says they'll start putting in the basic framework for the new rooms.
"We're going to start laying out walls next week, start laying out stack for our plumbing next week, and hopefully in the next two weeks start shooting studs," said Slaughter.
The Mayo will have 100 hotel rooms. A San Antonio developer has been signed on to run it as a boutique hotel. On the upper floors will be 75 apartments ranging from 700 to 2,800 square feet, with pre-leasing starting soon.
"We already have a list of about a hundred people that are interested in signing a lease," said Snyder.
On the outside, a renovation expert will go over the bricks, row-by-row, to repair any damage.
"This brick is one-of-a-kind. It's not the size of normal brick," said Slaughter. "The issue is going to be getting that nice brick that can match."
Terra-cotta cornices will also be repaired and then they'll use a non-acid wash for a thorough cleaning.
"There's certain areas where it's black, where there's mold maybe. Those are the areas that we're going to clean," said Slaughter.
When it's done, they say in many ways, it will be better than before.
"I think it's just really important to Tulsa history to save the Mayo Hotel," said Snyder.
The project was jump-started by a no-interest loan of about $4 million in Vision 2025 money.
In all, the Snyder family is putting about $40 million into the restoration.
The Snyders say they'll be done in Fall 2009.