04 Mar Southern Arizona Keeping One of its World-Famous Attractions.
The historic Gadsden Hotel in Douglas was bought by a local couple on Dec. 15, and they have big plans not only for the building but for the city. Tucson News Now sat down with Anel and Florencio Lopez, who saved the hotel from closing its doors when longtime owner Hartman Brekhus passed away in September. The couple have a passion for restoring old buildings and they say they couldn’t let Douglas be stripped of the historic hotel. “There’s nothing like this in the world and it’s here in Douglas,” Florencio Said. “You see it from the outside, it’s just a building. You walk into this lobby, it takes your breath away.”Gadsden Hotel is one of the main and few businesses left downtown. Now not only are the doors staying open, the Lopez family says they want to help rebuild the downtown area.From the marble staircase to the original Tiffany and Co. stained glass windows, the Gadsden is known for its extravagance. History is etched into the walls. Legend says the Gadsden is haunted and Anel says she and her husband have also had a few strange encounters. ”We’ve seen the lights turning off, items being moved,” she said. The Lopez’s say they plan to bank on that and share the hotel’s stories with everyone. “What we want to do is actually give ghost tours. There have been several little things that have happened to us since we started to move things.” But the 109-year-old hotel needs some work. The couple say they’ve taken on projects in worse shape but never of this magnitude and knew what they were getting themselves into when they bought the hotel. They plan to start from the bottom up. They say the hotel’s foundation is sound, but things need to be upgraded. They’ve shut down the top floors of the hotel until they’re renovated, renting 21 of the 130 rooms.
Anel and Florencio Lopez
The new owners have already began replacing fixtures with LED lighting and energy efficient heating. The Lopezes say their plan will take several years, but eventually they hope the hotel will be an even bigger draw for Douglas. “We want to bring events to the community, we want to be able to host a wine fest,” Florencio said, adding they have plans to add a wine bar and convert some of the top rooms into condos. The Lopezes say they don’t want to put any of the businesses that rent from the hotel on the street. They plan to stay open through the renovation process, shutting down certain areas as they need to and preserving as much of the historic hotel as they can. “To keep the doors open for all those who want to view it and want to come and step foot here or want to be part of this.”.