Have you ever wanted your very own 1863 Italianate-style hotel for the low price of $1?
Well, the city of Platteville has just the deal for you: the Gates Hotel, also known as the Samuel Moore House. What’s the catch? You’ll have to move and restore the building, and pay for all that work yourself.
On Monday, city officials issued a request for proposals seeking help moving the structure known as the Gates Hotel from its current site on Platteville’s South Oak Street.
They are calling for relocation to save the hotel from being demolished along with two other buildings to make way for a new $11.45 million development. That project, proposed by Fox Point-based General Capital Group, would turn the former Pioneer Ford property into a 71-unit apartment building with first-floor retail space.
The structure they are trying to save dates to 1863, when it was put up for use as a single-family home, according to the city’s RFP. It only became the Gates Hotel after the addition of a flat roof. After its days as a hotel came to an end, it was used as a four-unit apartment before being closed down and bought by the city in 2015, said Joe Carroll, community development director of Platteville.
According to the RFP, the two-story structure has a stone foundation and a brick exterior. Its north wing features a bracketed and truncated hip roof and its south wing a flat roof with decorated cornice trim. At one time, the building had a two-level porch extending across its front facade.
Getting the old hotel out of the way of the proposed Pioneer Square Apartments development won’t require a move of many miles. Carroll noted the city has several vacant lots only a couple blocks away.
The Pioneer Square Apartments itself came about as the result of an RFP. That request sought out the help of developers who were interested in acquiring several vacant city-owned properties and replacing them with some sort of mixed-use development. The area to be developed, near the corner of Pine Street and Water Street, serves as the eastern gateway to downtown Platteville, according to the RFP.
Carroll said one goal of the project was to prevent that part of Platteville from becoming more blighted than it already was.
“The city wanted to do something bigger and better there,” he said.
For many, the development will be a welcomed addition to the downtown. Others, though, are anxious about the fate of the Gates Hotel. General Capital Group had initially expressed no interest in doing anything with the building. Its original development plans, in fact, call for that property to be used as a parking lot.
Those interested in restoring the old hotel have lobbied for the city to come up with an alternative plan. Moving it is just one possibility, Carroll said. General Capital Group is now also considering whether it can find another use for the structure.
As for moving the building, Carroll said it won’t be easy. Noting the former hotel’s brick composition, he said any project of that sort would most likely have to take place in two phases.
Rusty Childs, an owner of Mt. Hope-based Heritage Movers, said moving a building like the Gates Hotel would require contractors to take some extra precautions. Brick buildings, for instance, usually need to have a cable wrapped around them before being picked up and placed somewhere else.
“That way it tightens it up and holds the brick in place,” Childs said.
Another thing to look at, Childs said, is the condition of a building’s mortar.
“Most of the time they’re fine,” he said. “I don’t think we’ve really had one that we can’t move.”