According to the newspaper, the city manager said renovations will finish by the end of this month, and the city will receive the keys to the property April 1. El Garces will operate as a railroad depot with other businesses, but not as its long-desired purpose as a hotel.
The El Garces Community Room will be available for rental to weddings and other events. The city also will rent out the complex’s smaller rooms to a variety of small businesses. The city probably will hire a broker to facilitate those rentals.
Allan Affeldt, savior of the historic La Posada Hotel in Winslow, Ariz., set his sights years ago on taking over El Garces and restoring it. But the Federal Transit Administration wouldn’t let him take over ownership of the property, and he walked away from the project. Affeldt recently announced his intent to buy the historic Hotel Castaneda, another Harvey House, in Las Vegas, N.M.
El Garces opened in 1908, halted operations as a Harvey House in 1949, and closed entirely in 1988. Friends of El Garces persuaded the city to buy the property in 1999, and it was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2002. El Garces sits next to an older downtown alignment of Route 66.
(Image of El Garces by Don Barrett via Flickr)