With word this week that the owners of the McCamly Plaza Hotel are closing it for six months for ongoing renovations and repairs, many in the community are a little nervous.   While many city and community leaders are expressing guarded optimism that the 38 year old building will transition into a Hilton Doubletree hotel.

Tim Wiltse has been working as the controller for Trust Hospitality, the company that manages the hotel, since February.  Wiltze is no stranger to the hotel, as he worked nights there doing the books right after it opened in the early 80’s.  Wiltze says he has every confidence that renovations are on track. “I’m very optimistic”, said Wiltse.

It doesn't take long to see that there's a lot still to be done at the hotel.  “We still have to renovate the lobby, front desk and restaurant,” said Wiltse.

McCamly Plaza Hotel-Nov18 2019 Near Front Desk-TSM Photo

“The atrium in McCamly Place is also being done, but that’s overseen by a separate entity, a real estate group involved in renting that space.”

Atrium Cieling-TSM Photo

Wiltse explained one reason for the shutdown of the hotel.  “During renovations, a subcontractor did not properly wire the new fire alarm system on four floors of the hotel.  We’re working with the contractor to resolve those issues, but it’ll require a lot of invasive work and testing.  It just makes sense to do that work when we don’t have to worry about alarms upsetting guests during the extensive testing and rewiring.”

Wiltse says an Avis car rental office is due to move into the atrium area on December 1st, and Bigby Coffee is already operating in a renovated space.

Biggby Coffee-TSM Photo

There was a sign on an exterior door on Monday asking coffee customers to enter from the inside door, since the heat wasn’t working.

Wiltse says he’s meeting with an HVAC contractor on Tuesday, and the heating and cooling will be the next thing done in the renovation process.  Even with the cold, there was a steady stream of customers in the middle of the afternoon at Bigby, and there has also been increased traffic to play video and pinball machines that were recently installed inside the McCamly Place atrium.

Wiltse confirmed that the hotel would close to the public on December 1st, but that it would remain open for a scheduled reception on December 3rd.   At that time, most of the 65 employees will be laid off.  Controller Wiltse, Director of Sales Dustin Morris, and a maintenance employee will stay on.