By Shirin Rajaee

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — It’s a historic downtown Sacramento hotel that’s been an eyesore for years.  But now the old Hotel Marshall is about to get a major makeover.

It’s been a long time coming, but finally some real progress for the future of this century-old structure.

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The Hotel Marshall, circa 1912. (Source: Sacramento Public Library)

Mayor Steinberg says it’s another step toward the city becoming a destination spot, but some are worried about preserving its history.

The hotel sits next to the Golden 1 Center. It was closed in 2015 and talks have been in the works to find a way to revamp the property. On Monday, city leaders announced that construction has begun to turn it into a boutique hotel.

The Hotel Marshall, circa 1960. (Source: Sacramento Public Library)

“This is iconic, this is one of the most iconic buildings in downtown Sacramento,” said Gevel Woods, a former tenant.

It was 1911 when it first opened as the upscale Hotel Clayton– a key music and jazz spot in from the 1920’s to 1950’s. Now the old Hotel Marshall is rundown, neglected at the corner of Seventh and L streets.

The Hotel Marshall, circa 1952. (Source: Sacramento Public Library)

“It’s been a long time coming, a long time coming they waited too long to fix it up,” said Woods.

The hotel was once home to low-income residents, parolees, former homeless and Woods says living conditions were rough.

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“You had rats, roaches; mice, termites and one part of the building looked like it was going to cave in,” he said.

After closing in 2015, the hotel has sat vacant like so many other dilapidated buildings in downtown Sacramento,  a stark contrast to its shiny new neighbor, the Golden 1 Center.

“We’re building on the legacy of Hotel Clayton with the Hyatt project, it’s exciting,” said Sacramento City Councilman Steve Hansen.

The Hotel Clayton, circa 1915. (Source: Sacramento Public Library)

Hansen says after years in limbo construction has started on an 11-story boutique Hyatt Centric hotel with 172 rooms and an outdoor lounge that will be built from the shell of the Marshall hotel.

“The idea is to keep the outer walls and build a new building behind that… This preservation of a historic facade on such a complicated site is really hard, and expensive, glad we’re finally doing it,” said Hansen.

“I’m scared for its history, I’m worried about its integrity being protected,” said Woods.

Some fear its history won’t be properly preserved,  but the city says it’s committed to doing so. And Steinberg says with Sacramento facing a shortage of hotel rooms, this renovation will be a big boost for the city.

“It’s gonna be a place people will be talking about, the great history, the old jazz, and another sign of confidence by investors that Sacramento is another place to do business,” said Steinberg.

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Construction starts this week and city leaders are expecting the hotel to open by March of 2020.