New Hotel in Downtown Midland Spawns More Growth - KWES NewsWest 9 / Midland, Odessa, Big Spring, TX: |

New Hotel in Downtown Midland Spawns More Growth


by Anum Valliani
NewsWest 9

MIDLAND - Western United Life Building was an old office building. By the end of next year, it's going to be transformed into a high-end hotel and the City Council can't be happier.

"Yeah, I'm talking about a building boom," Midland District 4 Councilman, Michael Trost, said.

The building has been vacant for more than 10 years with the doors chained, broken glass and graffiti everywhere. But Mahendra Patel and his son, Sagar Kumar (who heads the investment group JCM Furnishings), saw a vision to use the "beautiful" building for their next project.
With the city's approval on Wednesday night, and about two years worth of negotiating with the city, the former office space on the corner of West Texas Avenue and Colorado will be known late next year as Hotel Fuel.  

"We'll remove all the walls, everything will be gone," Patel said. 

In it's place will be 142 apartment-like rooms, gyms and meeting rooms on every floor, along with restaurants and retail shops among other lounge space. 

"You see an old building that everybody else is saying 'knock it down, tear it down!' They're saying, 'Oh no, let's make it beautiful,'" Trost said. 

According to Patel, there are so many hidden costs when you do remodel work but it costs less than when you're building from scratch. He said that resurrecting a brand new building in this economy would cost about $50 million.

The actual cost for them is about $9 to $10 million. Patel also estimates the hotel will lead to about 50 to 80 permanent jobs, in addition to about 70 temporary construction jobs.  If everything goes according to plan, the renovation is set to start in October. 

Councilman Trost reiterated that there are alot of labor problems at the moment, so bringing in workers and resources could present a challenge, though Patel remains optimistic about pulling out a task force.

Additionally, the city said they're doing whatever they can to facilitate the building's process. They're also working on The Building of The Southwest, which had been donated by the owners and is located right next door to the site, to possibly create a parking garage for the much needed parking in the area.

"I can promise you, it won't be there very long," Councilman Trost said.

Patel has a few hotels in the Midland-Odessa area. Consequentially, he said he's well aware of the markets ups and downs. That's why they have a contingency plan to be able to lease the double-sized rooms out as apartments. The city expressed a different mindset.

"I don't talk in "after-boom," I talk about continuation of the economy," Councilman Trost said.

Officials said there's no sign of slowing things down. In fact, just a few days ago, the Vaughn Building, on Big Spring and Texas, was bought. The city said investors are finalizing what they want to do with the building, though there are talks of turning it into condos. With all these changes, things could look pretty different in a couple of years.