Financing holds up downtown hotel refurbishment

By Tony Parra: PNT Staff Writer

Completion of financing details is all that stand in the way of starting the remodeling effort of the Portales Inn.
Steve Nishimuta, a San Diego developer, is hopeful the remodeling of the Portales Inn will begin in the summer. Nishimuta said he and his business partners are in negotiations with lenders for the project. He said they are finalizing the financing of the project.
Nishimuta said the lenders are composed of mainly New Mexico lenders but there is also one Nevada lender. Nishimuta is working in partnership with Bill Raisbeck, a former hotel developer who lives in Portales.
The hotel has not been in use for more than six years. Raisbeck previously stated the four-floor hotel will be worked one floor at a time. The fourth floor was used for apartment living and would require the most work, according to Raisbeck.
Nishimuta said this is the first hotel project he is working on. He said primarily he has worked on commercial buildings. According to Nishimuta, they have received bids and have contractors in mind to begin the construction of the project.
“We would like to get started as soon as possible,” Nishimuta said. “It could be three weeks, it could be two months. We need to get some appraisals.”
The Portales Inn is proposed to have a restaurant on the bottom floor and there will be an opening for managing the restaurant. The hotel has 48 rooms and the structure has 14-inch thick walls.
According to Raisbeck, one of the options for a theme for the hotel would be a western theme.
“We’ve had a design done,” Nishimuta said. “We’ve looked at the sketches, but we haven’t decided on a design.”
The city of Portales offered an incentive package, including the purchase of two parking lots for $78,000 from Yucca Telecommunications. The total cost was not to exceed $153,529, which comes from the economic tax fund. The economic tax fund is built up through a gross receipts tax of 1/8 cent. The incentive package includes the costs of design and landscaping of the parking lot (not more than $46,968) and the city of Portales will pay for the utilities (not more than $45,000) for a period of five years after the hotel is open and in operation.
“It’s (hotel) needed in the community,” Nishimuta said. “The mayor (Orlando Ortega) and the city have been real helpful. They’ve been helping us in any way they can.”
Some owners in the downtown area have said they are looking forward to the opening of the hotel and that it would help their business.
A new Holiday Inn Express is being constructed and the opening is expected by November. The two hotels would add to number of hotels offering stays in Portales, such as The Morning Star Bed and Breakfast, Classic American Economy Inn, Super 8 Motel and Sands Motel.