Reporting Steve Large
JACKSON (CBS13) – A fancy historic hotel is reopening in a small city hurting for help.
The owner is risking a fortune, hoping the hotel will help save his small town from its struggles.
Built back in 1852, presidents of the United States have stayed here, Mark Twain has stayed here, and John Wayne stayed here.
There’s even an old phone booth from the original days.
Now the man who rebuilt the hotel is hoping he can bring Jackson back to the glory days.
“It’s a pretty unique business plan,” said Stan Lukowicz. “I don’t recommend it and I think if you went to college they wouldn’t teach you this.”
Lukowicz has sunk $4 million into Jackson’s landmark National Hotel.
So is Lukowicz crazy for putting $4 million into a hotel in this day and age?
“You could say that and there’s a lot of people, friends of mine, that have said that,” said Lukowicz.
Built during the Gold Rush-era, old photos show the National Hotel when Jackson bustled.
Its population then outnumbered Los Anegles, but now Jackson is in a financial trouble.
“The problem is and I’ll give it to you in a nutshell, 5 years ago the town collected a 1.3 million in sales tax revenue. This year just ended June 30, we collected 660 thousand. So that, over a 50 percent drop in our income,” said Lukowicz.
Main Street is missing its spark, and no one knows that better then Lukowicz.
“On Main Street, I own about 25 buildings,” said Lukowicz.
But, with no money here, his tenants are having trouble.
“I’m worried about the people that rent from me, are able to make a living, so they can stay in business,” said Lukowicz.
So his plan is to jump start Jackson with this new National Hotel.
Lucowitz bought a monument to save Main Street.
“I’m fixing up a neat old building for our town,” said Lukowicz.
The National Hotel’s grand re-opening is set for later this month.