Before the Chamber of Commerce can move into the Hubbell building, the City will need prepare a cost estimate and the Chamber a plan for the building before any money is spent finishing up the interior. ADOT paid the City of Winslow about $240,000 to be used for relocation of Chamber after they were forced to relocate due to the highway bridge construction on North Park Drive.
After the City toured the Hubbell building with the Chamber of Commerce, Historical Society and Historical Preservation Commission, they identified and segregated things of historic value before prison crews then unloaded enough junk to fill two 40-cubic yard dumpsters, twice.
City Administrator Jim Ferguson told Council that the City has full use of the building as the Affiliate of American Indian Centers has backed out of their lease.
The AAIC had been leasing the building for years, but only kept the space open under its intended use for a few days while people came and went throwing away or destroying things of significant historic value.
The City is now ready to begin renovation, but Ferguson said they need a direction on how the building will be used so to be able to have the interior plan for things like plumbing, wiring and lighting in the appropriate places depending on the planned use. The Chamber of Commerce is the only planned occupant so far, and they will have to decide what they would like the project to be before the City can begin interior renovation and restoration.
To better prepare for this, the City, Chamber and Historical Society all took a trip to Ganado, Ariz. on the Navajo Reservation to visit the historic Hubbell Trading Post there which is operated by the National Park Service.
The Hubbell building in Winslow was one of two wholesale trading posts plus the 30 other smaller operations owned by John Lorenzo Hubbell and his family at the high point of their trading empire.
Even though the City has repaired all structural work in the walls and roof of the Hubbell, Mayor Allen Affeldt expressed concern over the remaining costs; asking to see a cost estimate for what the Chamber wants done.
"Renovation costs are about $300 per square foot, and I know because I am in the business," Affeldt said.
He estimates that if the renovation could be done for $100 per square foot, they'd be lucky, and the building is 5000 square feet. This could put the cost for interior renovation to about a half million dollars, according to Affeldt.
"The Chamber said they don't have any money to contribute to this, so we need to determine where will the extra $250,000 will come from?" Affeldt said.
Winslow Chamber of Commerce Director Bob Hall said those figures seemed high, and that the Chamber has already been waiting in limbo in their current location, which they also feel is inadequate.
"The Hubbell building would be the perfect location for the Chamber and Visitors Center," Hall said. "My vision or dream, is that it could serve as an anchor for La Posada to our historical downtown. Between these two points, it could serve to create more interest in business and enterprise to expand downtown."
Council appeared satisfied that the Chamber could share the space with another entity to cover the costs, but no particular group was named.
Councilwoman Bumpus said the she knows that the Chamber has been working hard in this direction and that she would like to see them move forward.
City Attorney Dale Patton reminded Council that when the City received the Hubbell, there were provisions in their contract about it being used to some historical relevance like having a museum or trading post in it.
Councilwoman Judy Howell said that Council needs to meet and work out many things going on in the city instead of just "piece-mealing" things out time after time. She said that the Council needs to have a plan for the Rasco building, the Hubbell and the New Municipal Complex in the Old Basha's building.
Council will be discussing the Hubbell plans with interested parties during the Council meeting on Nov. 28.