Ginocchio Remodel

I recently saw this article in the Marshall News Messenger and thought I would post it for those that did not attend the complimentary lunch with the class 55 Year Reunion .

Alan Loudermilk points March 9 to where some of the rot accumulated in the Ginocchio Hotel in Marshall.

For more than two years, the Ginocchio Hotel has been slowly returning to the vivacious and textured life it's had in its more than 120-year lifespan. This resuscitation of one of Marshall's most cherished landmarks has long been a vision Alan Loudermilk, patent attorney and owner of 511 Technologies.

"This has been a total labor of love," Loudermilk said.

Loudermilk first laid eyes on the Ginocchio in 2009, when he was in Marshall for a patent case and originally looked at the building as a possible location for his 511 Technologies company. He instead moved into the Coca-Cola building down the street.

Loudermilk said he hopes to turn the Ginocchio into an upscale restaurant, bar and small-scale event venue.

"The economic use of (the second floor, where the Ginocchio's rooms are located) as a bed and breakfast or a hotel is not quite clear to us yet," Loudermilk said. "But what is clear, is we can have meeting rooms and hopefully private dining. … We're going to make (the Ginocchio) more of a food, beverage and a venue for special events. There's lots of people who would like to have a reunion or a special place for people to use it.

"The idea is to preserve history, but I'm a tech guy, so I want a state-of-the-art kitchen, I want modern energy management tools. We want a blend of old and new."

Marrying the old and the new has been a theme all throughout the Ginocchio's renovation.

"We hope to tie this into our tech business; we'd like to have solar panels and advanced lighting energy management," Loudermilk said, adding not only does he hope to rewire the electrical system, he believes it is possible to graduate several of the hotel rooms to full plumbing. "When this was built they had very little electricity and no running water … very few of the rooms have full bathrooms. Over the years they added some. They tried to make sure each room had at least a sink or a lavatory, but then they just ran pipes under the floor, which would just clog up."

Loudermilk said the Ginocchio's third floor would be used to service the lower floors, electrifying the old hotel from the top down. But, Loudermilk said he still intends on preserving the history resting in the building's loft.

"On the third floor, it's pretty rugged, but on the walls people would write notes and graffiti, but it's dated in the early 1900s," Loudermilk said, adding not only will he keep the graffiti, but also he and the crews of Butler Construction are paying close attention to the hotel's detail.

"This building was built in 1895, pre-electricity," Loudermilk said. "You have the balcony up there, and it was on posts. Probably around 1918, they decided to lower it, allowing natural light to get in the windows of the first floor. Unfortunately, it was also a hideous hanging awning rather than the posted balcony. … We are going to put back the original balcony on posts. … This is one of the details people may not understand, but we are very proud of (bringing the Ginocchio) back in that level of detail to what it originally was."

Loudermilk said initial construction was mainly concerned with reclaiming areas, mainly in the roof, that had been overrun with rot from years of unattended leaks.

"Anywhere brick and wood met, we took the building apart," Loudermilk said. "We found rot all the way back. The structural design is like a pocket in the brick and the floor joist goes inside. What we did is put angle iron so that the floor joists are supported in the pocket. This building should stand another 100 years."

Loudermilk said he has been working with Amtrak to create an entryway from the train station entrance to the Ginocchio entrance.

"Coincidentally, they had a program to update historical depots," Loudermilk said. "They want to bring them back, retain their character but also make them ADA compliant. They are renovating a number of these old historic Amtrak stations. So we are coordinating with them; they give us their plans, we give them our plans. We've had several meetings with the contractors so they will sync up and tie nicely into them. They're all very positive and supporting of what we are doing."

Loudermilk is confident renovations on the Ginocchio will be complete by mid-2017.

"The structural part is all done. It looks like it's not far along," Loudermilk said. "But all the hard part is in the roof, gutters and windows (which are finished). … We can whip through this in 60 days. I'm guessing we'll be finished in the middle of the summer. That may not be the full commercial launch, but we'll be doing testing and bring out the concept by the summer."