- Associated Press - Friday, February 14, 2014

HUTCHINSON, Kan. (AP) - When Menzo Hainline bought Hutchinson’s Stamey Hotel in the spring of 1958 with plans to convert it into apartments, he told a reporter with The Hutchinson News he was renaming it the Landmark Hotel because “there’s usually a landmark in every town, and this building is just that.”

He left “hotel” in the name, Hainline explained, because he was considering leaving part of the building as a hotel. Within a few years, however, the conversion to apartments was complete, The Hutchinson News (http://bit.ly/1h54Ozi ) reports.

The five-story brick and limestone building remains a structural landmark, denoting downtown Hutchinson’s north end with its Renaissance Revival style architecture.

But it hasn’t played host to the guests of its hotel heyday - purportedly, Howard Hughes in 1930, Rin Tin Tin III in 1949 and movie producer Saul Wurtzel who made it his headquarters while filming “Wait ‘Til the Sun Shines, Nellie” in 1951 - for many, many years.

Instead, the building owned by Hutchinson Realtor Terry Messing houses low-income residents and its interior has significantly deteriorated over the years.

Messing, in declining health, has listed the 90-year-old building for sale on eBay for $130,000. The listing has since been removed, but at one point it had garnered two bids from the same bidder. Messing said he’s also tried Craigslist and Facebook to list the building’s sale. The appraised value of the property is currently $201,770.

“We’ve had some questions, a lot of questions,” Messing said. “But when we tell them how bad it is, it scares them off.”

He’s had it on the market about six months, Messing said, but noted “I should have been trying to sell it five years ago.”

He had no estimate on what the building would cost to simply repair.

“I’d just like to sell it and have someone else worry about it,” Messing said.

Real estate agent Josie Thompson of J.P. Weigand & Sons Inc., one of those locally listing the property for Messing and taking interested parties on tours, said the best option is to sell the building for the price of the shell.

“The exterior is the best part, the most salvageable,” Thompson said.

While some interior historic elements should also be preserved, Thompson opined, such as ceiling beams and terrazzo tile floors on the ground floor, original railings up the five flights of stairs, and some wooden ones upstairs, the most likely scenario is that the building be gutted and rebuilt with fewer apartments.

The plans for redevelopment will determine whether residents are displaced, Messing said.

The building, currently with 41 apartments, is about 65 percent occupied, Thompson said. About 80 percent of the apartments are habitable, but the rest have ceiling or wall damage that prevents their use.

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