Texarkana recently received approval from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development for Section 108 loan guarantee assistance in the amount of $1,429,000 for the Hotel Grim Lofts Project.

The Hotel Grim Lofts is a mixed-use historic preservation project involving residential space in downtown Texarkana, Texas. The goal is to redevelop the hotel with 98 housing units and commercial space on the first level. The financing plan is to use 108 funds from HUD along with federal and state historic credits, an EPA cleanup loan, conventional debt, and any other eligible sources.

The proposal is for market apartments with apartments set aside of approximately 20 units for affordable family. David Orr, Director of Planning and Community Development for the City of Texarkana, Texas has been working on this Grim project for several years. “We are excited to work with our federal partners at HUD, the EPA and the Sari development team to revitalize this iconic landmark in downtown Texarkana,” Orr said.  “HUD’s approval was the last major piece of federal funding needed to turn this dream into a reality.”

Economic Development Director, Jerry Sparks, agrees that the project has been challenging to finance. “We are closer to redeveloping the Grim Hotel than we’ve ever been, and it has taken a lot of time, energy and effort to reach this point,” Sparks said. “The difference now is that we have the right people in the right places to make this project happen.”

Private developer, Jim Sari has been working with the City for the last eight years on the Grim project and expressed his excitement to begin this project. “I’ve relayed to my team of architects, designers and engineers that it is go time in Texarkana,” said Jim Sari, “We appreciate the City working with us on this public private partnership.” Recent developments over the past several years included a Phase 1 of an EPA Brownfield assessment completed in the summer of 2014.

The property was added to the National Historic Registry in May of 2015, making it eligible for historic tax credits, and Phase II of the Brownfields assessment was completed in June of the same year, making the project eligible for EPA Revolving Loan funds.

In June 2015, Texarkana was selected as one of four cities nationwide for a site visit from the Council of Development Finance Agencies (CDFA). A Project Response Team comprised of CDFA staff and technical assistance partners provided expert advice and recommended a redevelopment strategy detailed in the report titled Grim Hotel: Roadmap to Redevelopment. The visit was made possible through CDFA’s Brownfields Technical Assistance Program, funded by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. In July 2016, the Grim Lofts, LLC was officially formed by developer Jim Sari and an EPA Brownfields Revolving Loan Fund Application was submitted for cleanup funds.

In November 2016, the Hotel Grim Lofts project team presented at the Council of Development Finance Agencies National Development Finance Summit in New Orleans, Louisiana November 2-4. The session was titled “Hotel Revitalization in the Heartland” and featured the Texarkana project along with another historic hotel project in Green Bay, Wisconsin. It is estimated that if the project continues progressing that closing will take place in June with construction set to begin by early fall.

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