The long-dormant Baker Hotel has a new lease on life.
Authorities in Mineral Wells announced today a three-year, $65 million plan to revive the showcase hotel that once hosted celebrities, government officials and those seeking to bathe in the healing mineral waters from springs in the area.
After many years and a few false starts,
In conjunction with the City of Mineral Wells, the owners and developers — which include Laird A. Fairchild of Hunter Chase Construction and Development, Chad Patton of Wells Fargo Advisors, G. Brint Ryan of Ryan LLC, Randy Nix of Nix Rental Homes, Jeffrey M. Trigger of La Corsha Hospitality Group, Mark Rawlings of Syndicated Contracting Services and Beth and Kurt Thiel of Thiel & Thiel — plan to restore the Spanish Colonial Revival hotel to its status as a premier wellness-focused resort via a public-private partnership.
“This is a great day for Mineral Wells,” said Fairchild. “The Baker Hotel and Spa will be the crown jewel in a much larger plan to re-establish Mineral Wells as a destination for the weekend traveler – much in the same way that Magnolia has spurred interest in Waco. The Baker will attract visitors from across Texas who are looking for a luxurious getaway as well as those from across the country and around the world who crave the small-town Texas experience. In addition, with plenty of hospitality space, we believe The Baker will be an enormously popular spot for weddings, corporate gatherings and other special events that will provide additional economic benefit to Mineral Wells.”
Southlake-developer Fairchild been working for several years to restore the 14-story hotel designed by Fort Worth architect Wyatt C. Hedrick that opened in 1929.
Fairchild said plans for the renovated hotel include paring down its current 450 rooms – most of which are small compared to modern hotel rooms – and combining them to end up with 157 rooms.The City of Mineral Wells, in conjunction with multiple partners and developers, will revive the Spanish Colonial Revival tower to feature a fully-renovated collection of 157 guest rooms and amenities — including a natural springs-based spa, convention and business facilities, event ballrooms, and restaurant, coffee shop and retail options. The local mineral springs that once drew celebrities from around the world, will be utilized again, along with modernized amenities adapted to the lifestyle of the modern-day guest, according to the Baker Hotel website.
“The resurrection of The Baker would not be possible without the overwhelming support of the citizens of Mineral Wells,” said Patton. “From the start, they have been very vocal in their belief that this project would be a cornerstone in the redevelopment of downtown. The City government worked tirelessly with our team to put in place a public-private partnership that made sense for everyone. We also must thank Governor Abbott for designating this project and a majority of downtown Mineral Wells as an Opportunity Zone. That designation was the linchpin that helped pull all this together and make this long-term investment possible. This project is a substantial commitment that greatly enhances the renaissance of this wonderful city.”
In its heyday, The Baker included mineral baths, a golf course and three dance floors, including one in a rooftop nightclub with doors that would swing open on summer nights. Hollywood stars like Jean Harlow, Judy Garland and Clark Gable strolled the halls of its ballrooms, but in the 1940s, the federal Food and Drug Administration ordered Mineral Wells to stop making medical claims about its mineral waters and traffic at the property dropped off.
Opening as the U.S. was entering the Great Depression, owners of The Baker filed for bankruptcy in 1932, but the hotel stayed open until 1963. It remained closed until 1965, when it re-opened, subsequently closing again in 1972.
Time after time, rumors have floated that a buyer was on the brink of picking up the hotel and transforming it into either a mixed-use development, a casino or condominiums – but nothing solid materialized until now.
This complete renovation will present a renewed collection of 157 guest rooms, a Baker Suite and Presidential suite, natural springs-based wellness spa with indoor and outdoor natural springs, more than 20,000-square-feet of meeting and event spaces, the restored and elegant top floor ballroom known as the “Cloud Room,” as well as a restaurant, lounge, coffee shop and retail options. The carefully crafted and curated design will position The Baker Hotel and Spa as a premier destination for weddings, retreats, corporate events, local gatherings and weekend getaways, according to a news release.
Fairchild said the hotel will employ about 120 full-time equivalent jobs when it opens.
Mineral Wells is about 50 miles west of Fort Worth.
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