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First sign of change stands around historic Hotel Lincoln

1 year 1 month 1 week ago Wednesday, October 19 2022 Oct 19, 2022 October 19, 2022 7:20 PM October 19, 2022 in News
Source: WBRZ

BATON ROUGE- The owners of a historic hotel off of Government street are looking to the future and work to renovate the Hotel Lincoln, which has been vacant for more than two decades now, is set to begin soon.

A fence around the hotel is the most obvious sign that something is about to happen. The owners hope to start construction on the $3.7 million project next year. It's welcome news to those who live and work in the area.

"I thought they were going to tear it down," Lindell Davis, owner of Webb's Barber Shop across the street, said.

If walls could talk, Hotel Lincoln would have quite the story to tell. The hotel first opened its doors in 1955 for Black people turned away from 'white only' hotels. Among those who stayed there were well known musicians, such as Aretha Franklin and Nat King Cole.

In the '90s, it became a boarding school for a few years before the doors were locked up.

"It got worse and worse over the years, people breaking the windows, and kids going in there," Davis said.

Davis says he sadly watched the building deteriorate for the last 50 years. He grew up in his family's barber shop which used to be next door with the same name.

"On each floor it has one bathroom, that was amazing for me to see. I just went up in there, came back down, it was dirty," Davis said.

That could soon change. Days ago, a fence went up around the building and a pile of dirt surrounds a water meter, Davis says he saw crews working on getting water to the building. Plans call for the old hotel to become new housing. Davis says he was excited when he saw those crews show up.

"Uh-oh, they're about to start working on it now," Davis said was his first reaction.

The building owner, Kimble Properties say they put the fence up last week, so they could start the the abatement and lead removable process this month. Unfortunately that was pushed back to a later date. They say they are getting bids for the work and hope to begin construction after the new year.

Plans call for 12 apartments and two retail spaces, something Davis says he is looking forward to.

"Right now it's just an eyesore but it'll be really good to see it be an apartment and seeing people going in and out, make the area look a little better."

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