Settling in: Hotel renovations proceeding

More than five years — and $25 million — after announcing their plans to renovate the historic downtown Settles Hotel, Big Spring natives Brint and Kristopher Ryan may be close enough to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

However, after plenty of missed deadlines already behind them, Kris Ryan, general manager of the Settles Hotel Development Company and overseer of the restoration project, said any projected completion date is a nightmare just waiting to happen when dealing with a project of this magnitude.

“With a project like this, it's almost impossible to put a completion date on it because you just don't know what you're going to find next,” Ryan said, motioning to a wall on the second floor. “Take these walls, for instance. You get water moving through here and you know it's going to do damage. However, trying to determine how much of these walls can be saved and how much have to be replaced is almost impossible. A lot of these guys working on this project have been in the business for 40 or 50 years, and they will tell you, so much of this is simply unpredictable.

“This project has been a nightmare for me and most of the contractors and subcontractors. They will tell you that, without a doubt, this is the hardest project they have ever worked on. However, we'll all be in the ground when our kids and our kids' kids are still here to see what we've done here. This is something for these men and Big Spring to take pride in.”

Brint Ryan announced plans for the multi-million dollar renovation project in December 2006. According to SHDC officials, the project includes plans for commercial and residential use of the property, with retail space available on the first and second floors. The project's budget has ballooned from $12 million to $25 million since its inception.

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