Friday, May 16, 2014

Fully restored: Small ceremony; big dream fulfilled

A little more than two years ago, on a brisk March 2, 2012, about 50 of us gathered in the dark, dirty and gutted first floor of the near-derelict Hotel Charitone to hear Ric Jurgens, then-chairman and CEO of Hy-Vee, announce plans --- and a $1.6 million financial commitment --- to bring this cornerstone of the Chariton Square back to life.

That project was for practical purposes completed at 10:30 a.m. Thursday, a brisk May morning, when about 50 us us gathered again --- for a ribbon-cutting ceremony that officially opened the Hotel Charitone Market Grille, the final major project in the now fully restored building. Tenants moved into 12 apartments on the upper three floors beginning in January.

Phil Hammermeister made the official cut. He is Chariton Hy-Vee store director and also responsibile for general oversight of the Market Grille. At right is Mary Stout Stierwalt --- owner of Family Shoe for more than 50 years and senior member of Chariton's business community.

Christopher Watkins welcomed guests to the program, reviewing the project's history. He is manager of Hotel Charitone LLC, which acquired title to the Charitone during January of 2012. The non-profit Lucas County Preservation Alliance is controlling partner in the LLC. Hy-Vee Inc. is the other partner and major stakeholder. Officers of the Alliance are Alyse Hunter, president; Denny Bisgard (standing to Hammermeister's right in the photo), vice-president; and Ray Meyer, far right in the second row, treasurer.

Hy-Vee was represented by Jay Marshall, executive vice-president, East Region. Among the many individuals and entities acknowledged by the speakers were the Vredenburg Foundation, which honors the memories of the late Dwight and Ruth Vredenburg, donor of $500,000, the largest private contribution to the $5.5 million project. Representatives of Koester Construction, general contractor for the two-and-a-half-year project, also were acknwledged.

And then everyone was invited to come inside for lunch (dutch treat, this time). Effective immediately, the Market Grille is open 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday; 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday; and 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday for brunch.

Here's the way the Charitone looked on Thursday.

And here's the way it looked before restoration began.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Just goes to show that Charitonians can do anything they set their minds to. Congrats on this monumental accomplishment!