SIOUX CITY – Rain water cascaded down from the patched up and rusted awning of the Warrior Hotel in downtown Sioux City Thursday morning as construction workers walked about – the sound of electrical tools echoing off of the old hotel walls that still stood and those that have been newly built.
Construction on the Warrior and adjacent Davidson Building in the 500 block of 6th Street will continue progress until the summer of 2020, marking the potential end to the storied renovating-past of the historic Hotel. Built in 1930, the Warrior has faced potential revival several times, only to be left boarded up. It's been closed since 1976.
The new Warrior hotel will be the first associated with Marriott Hotel’s Autograph Collection, buildings selected by Marriott to showcase “hotels exactly like nothing else,” according to development officials who led the tour Thursday morning.
Among the dust and ruble, the hotel’s main common areas have been left to age for the past decade. In 2006, the building was gutted in hopes of transforming it into a location for low income senior living. That plan, like others before it, fell through.
Led by St. Louis-based Restoration St. Louis, the renovation project has been in full swing since February 2019, Harry Lunt, senior vice president of sales and marketing of Innkeeper Hospitality, said.
Now, the Warrior’s walls, its specific terra cotta stucco, are covered in cracks and falling apart. But Alex Cherubin, assistant vice president of Restoration Iowa and the self-proclaimed “boots on the ground” of the management team, said saving that history is the key to renovating the hotel.
“History’s important,” Cherubin said. “Preserving our history helps guide us through the future. Our motto is ‘preserve and enhance’ the neighborhoods and cities we work in. We are preserving and enhancing this building – protecting its heritage, its meaning, and helping propel it to the future.”
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Cherubin said the architects and construction crews and working to preserve all original aspects of the hotel that they can. Those that have already been removed, destroyed or beyond salvage will be rebuilt to what was once original to the building. Cherubin said in order to match what the hotel once looked like, they are referencing historical photographs and local historians.
“We do use photos from history,” Cherubin said. “[It’s] been incredibly successful. (longtime Sioux City photographer) George Lindblade has an absolute treasure-trove of photos. Most of our staff has spent hours there with him combing through photos.”
With a little more time, Lunt believes the Warrior will be a beacon for culture and timeless nights for the people of Sioux City.
“We hope to work very closely with [the Orpheum Theatre], so whenever there’s a concert or something exciting happening, this could be the pre-cocktail or post-dinner,” Lunt said. “It’s kind of like dinner and a movie, or dinner and a show. But here, you can just push the button and take the elevator home. Have an extra glass of wine and enjoy being in downtown.”
Beyond the history, Cherubin and Lunt detailed how the Warrior will mix the look of the past with the flare of present day technology.
The hotel will be renovated with both heating and cooling powered by geothermal energy and rooms will offer amenities such as mirror TVs, as well as a spay on the first floor, a bowling alley, bar and more.