Officials tout downtown growth

Citing a "culture of confidence," Clovis' MainStreet executive director is noting that 2012 has so far been a noteworthy year for the city's downtown area.

CNJ staff photo: Tony Bullocks

Work is on schedule for renovation of Hotel Clovis, with outside work set to begin in a few weeks, Community Development Director Claire Burroughes said. MainStreet Executive Director Robyne Baubien believes the renovation is a catalyst for growth in the downtown area.

Robyne Beaubien said that in the last three months she has seen six new businesses come into the downtown area, which is mainly comprised of Main, Pile and Mitchell streets.

"It is a good number," Beaubien said. "Every one of those businesses corresponds to one to three jobs. That's more people working downtown, and that's a good thing."

Businesses Beaubien had tracked within the quarter include the Two Loons home goods store, the Roadhouse Coffee shop, the Modas Locals and Modas Yoli clothing stores, High Point Ballet and Anathema Combat Academy.

That growth didn't count expansion for Two Shabby Divas or a pair of businesses — Randy's Saddle Repair and the As They Grow clothing shop relocating to the downtown area, but Beaubien noted that any growth in a city's downtown has a ripple effect on the community.

"I think we're seeing an improvement in property usage downtown," Beaubien said. "We've always believed the Hotel (Clovis) project would be a catalyst."

The Hotel Clovis, closed since 1983, is being renovated into an apartment complex by Taos-based Tierra Realty.

Claire Burroughes, community development director for the city, said the hotel is on schedule for completion by the end of 2012, with all of the windows in place on the main building and exterior work set to begin in the next few weeks.

Beaubien also noted that she expects a positive impact from the Sitterly Professional Center, the former US Bank building on Pile Street that Jim Sitterly is developing. The building, still under construction, will allow 24-hour access to individual offices and a lobby during business hours with reception staff and office equipment.

"We appreciate his confidence in the downtown in that way," Beaubien said.

Beaubien said some Main Street property owners are looking to convert their properties into rentals, which would include a street-level business front and a loft apartment. Such a setup might be attractive to people who have what Beaubien calls a "renaissance" mindset where the business owner lived and worked in the same place.

"They want workability, they want access to places to shop and eat," Beaubien said.

Regarding the future of the downtown, Beaubien said she would like to see a new bakery to replace Sutton's, which closed early in 2012 after more than 65 years of operation.

Beaubien added that a representative from the New Mexico Historic Preservation Office will be in the downtown area 1 p.m.-3 p.m. Monday to talk about 1 percent interest loans available from the office for building renovations.

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