They say that all journalists are cynical and are harbingers of only bad news. I’m not arguing that my profession probably deserves a lot of the criticisms it gets day to day. But I’ll be the first to admit I’m the type to root for the underdog. And Marva Ellard was definitely the underdog when she bought the Sieber Hotel more than a decade ago. Once a MidTown landmark, at 1305 N Hudson, the property was a mess by the 1990s.
For whatever reason, Ellard had plenty of doubters. Two city council members seemed intent on sinking her project at one point. Other downtown developers tried to place doubt as to whether she could ever pull it off.
And yet Marva pulled it off. I had a lot of fun covering this this past decade, and in conjunction with my coverage today, I thought I’d share a pictorial journey through the good and bad times of the Sieber Hotel.
The Sieber Hotel during its “glory days.”
The Sieber Hotel – during not so glorious days (circa 2001)
Marva Ellard gets to work on the lobby.
This building will not fall!
Marva Ellard looks upward at the skylight in the Sieber lobby - maybe for some divine guidence….
Window restoration – one of the most complicated and expensive items on any historic tax credit project, begins (circa 2007)
The old mosaic tile floor in the Sieber lobby is revealed to be incredibly intact.
The former Sieber butcher shop and grocery, once barely standing during early renovations, is back in top shape by fall 2008.
The completed lobby – one of many wonderful photos shot by Paul Southerland during a recent tour.