WF leaders taking aggressive action on abandoned hotel by the falls

WF leaders taking aggressive action on abandoned hotel by the falls
There are many holes in the side of the hotel where people have come in and out. (Source: KAUZ)
There are many holes in the side of the hotel where people have come in and out. (Source: KAUZ)
The inside of the old hotel has had squatters for years. (Source: KAUZ)
The inside of the old hotel has had squatters for years. (Source: KAUZ)

WICHITA FALLS, Tx (RNN Texoma) - For years a hotel has sat abandoned next to the Falls. For much of that time, Wichita Falls leaders have not been able to issue citations because it's been in compliance with code enforcement regulations.

"After the first week of July, if we become so motivated, we can look at other options that could eventually down the line lead to demolition," Menzies said. "This is one of our front doors to our city. And it's right next to our namesake. Is this what you want folks to see when they come to Wichita Falls?"

But within the last two months, that has changed because the hotel is deteriorating quickly inside and out with gaping holes on the sides and violations on the inside. The city is using it as an opportunity for the owners to either renovate and open the hotel or for the city to possibly demolish it.

"I've sat in that parking lot and I've watched people go in and out of those holes in the side of the facility," Assistant City Manager, Paul Menzies said.

It's cost taxpayers over $25,000 for the city to address the so-called "eyesore" because the police department has had to address squatters and criminal activity inside the hotel.

"It had gotten to a point where our SWAT team went into the hotel and spent a half-day sweeping through there ridding it of folks that were living there without permission and whatever other activity was going on there," Menzies said.

The city has finally begun issuing citations for the violations.

"The goal is to work with the prosecutor's office so when those tickets eventually end up in the municipal court, that possibly in lieu of just a fine we get some sort of resolution or commitment from the owners," Menzies said. "They've told me their goal is to renovate the facility and open it up as a major flagship hotel."

But the city has also taken other steps in case that doesn't happen by issuing a 60-day notice of action, with the possibility of demolition.

Newschannel 6 has been reaching out to the owners of the building, Premiere Hospitality Management, out of Durant, Oklahoma.

They have yet to return any of our calls. Menzies said there are so many code enforcement violations on the building they could be cited a $2,000 fine every single day.

But he said that's not something they want to do because they want to work with the owners to open the hotel back up. Menzies said they will have to know one way or another in the coming months.

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