In news that no one cares about but me . . .
The Baker Hotel remains a glorious wreck.
Closed to guests since 1972, the shuttered hotel is rife with graffiti, debris and water damage.
Yet everywhere he turns, Southlake developer Laird Fairchild continues to see possibilities.
Fairchild, head of Baker Hotel Development Partners Llc., who has worked on reviving the hotel since 2007, remains confident that the $56 million renovation will happen — despite a steady barrage of financing roadblocks.
“I understand the cynics,” Fairchild said. “Believe me, I wouldn’t be here working on this for seven years if I didn’t think it could happen.”
The hotel first captured his imagination when he drove by it on the way to a nearby ranch where his family has a lease along the Brazos River. He has been working with a team of investors to turn the old hotel into a destination that will help revitalize downtown Mineral Wells, about an hour northwest of Fort Worth.
To bring the hotel back to life, the Baker group is tapping various sources, including funds from an economic development sales tax, state and federal historic tax credits, and private financing.
The largest and perhaps most important piece — $28 million — is slated to come from the EB-5 Immigrant Investor program, a growing but criticized mechanism that allows wealthy international investors to obtain U.S. visas by placing at least $500,000 in a U.S. business that creates or preserves at least 10 full-time jobs.
About 80 percent of EB-5 investors come from China, according to Invest in the USA, an industry trade group.