The Grand preparing for summer opening

Alisa Boswell

All the first floor businesses of The Grand — the former Portales Inn — will be opening sometime in March, according to the owners.

The remaining three floors in the four-story building — which includes hotel rooms and offices and should open in early summer, according to Maxwell Group managing member Bob Morrow.

“We’re just about ready for Phelps Engineering to move in,” Morrow said. “We have some final interior details to work out.”

Renovations on the hotel, which opened in 1951 as the Calboykin Hotel and closed down in 2000 as the Portales Inn, began in late 2010.

Morrow said along with the engineering company and Yantie’s Barbershop, which opened in July 2011, the first floor will also include a ballroom, an art gallery, bar, restaurant and bakery/coffee and tea shop.

“We had hoped to get that done by the end of the year, but we had some construction delays,” Morrow said of the first floor. “So we’re very focused on making it happen in the spring.”

Morrow said the company is about two months behind on construction on the first floor but one month ahead on the construction of the upper floors.

Jared Zatorski, chief operating officer for Choice Ventures, said his company is opening the cafe/bakery business in the building.

“What we’re opening is Atlas Cafe. We’re going to specialize in teas, coffees and baked goods from around the world,” Zatorski said. “We’re opening something in Portales that folks have never seen. It’s going to be set up like your typical bistro cafe. We want to create that big city coffee shop atmosphere without the big city.”

Zatorski said he and his business partners, Wesley and Wade Martin, anticipate being able to open sometime in March.

“It’s just a matter of getting the remodeling started and getting our staff hired,” Zatorski said. “We’re so excited we just want to jump out of our skin. We spend every waking moment thinking about this. With all the work put into it and seeing our dream become a reality, we’re very excited.”

Morrow said along with finalizing remodeling, the Maxwell Group is trying to find a business to run the bar portion of the building, because the previous business lined up for the job had to withdraw.

He said the company is trying to add “a touch of elegance to the hotel experience.”

“It’s quite a challenge to bring an older property to modern standards, but we didn’t see a downside other than a lot of work,” Morrow said. “We liked the community and what we saw. It’s a friendly and cooperative place for new businesses.”

Morrow said in a previous story the hotel would need 16 employees, and the food and beverage service on the first floor would require 30 or more.

The projected cost of the renovation is $2 million.