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Luxury hotel off the drawing board for Grand Island

Luxury hotel off the drawing board for Grand Island

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GRAND ISLAND — The $12 million luxury Nebraskan Hotel proposed for downtown Grand Island won’t be built after all.

Zachary Zoul, chairman and chief executive officer of Hospitality Advisors Group, said he no longer plans to purchase the three properties that would have made way for the boutique hotel: the Masonic Temple, the Bartenbach building and the former Rexall Drug.

“We have not been able to pull together the financing necessary to proceed with the development of the Nebraskan Hotel,” Zoul said in a written statement released last week. “Therefore, in accordance with the purchase agreements, I will not be proceeding with the purchase of the properties.”

Construction would have begun next year with a grand opening in January 2015.

Amos Anson, owner of FAmos Construction, which had been contracted to build the hotel, called the announcement disappointing. “We knew it was a risk, but we were willing to take that risk for the possible reward,” Anson said. “It was a lot to ask of Grand Island.”

He and his father and brother, Charles and John, purchased the seven-story Masonic Temple at a foreclosure sale in April 2012 for $55,000. They cleared the property of its main-floor commercial tenants and began demolishing offices on the upper floors to make way for loft apartments. Then Zoul brought them the hotel proposal.

Zoul’s announcement puts the Ansons back to their original plan for the Masonic Temple.

“I’m a little disappointed,” Anson said, “but we are definitely optimistic and looking forward to doing some high-end, modern lofts.”

Anson said he has personally heard the most disappointment in not bringing Dreisbach’s to downtown. The steakhouse that started in Grand Island in 1932 was proposed to have a fourth-floor restaurant in the Masonic Temple’s former ballroom.

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