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Goldbelt Hotel to continue large-scale renovations

Native corporation puts $2 million into building improvements

Posted: October 14, 2013 - 12:01am
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Fabrics echo colors in a print by Juneau artist Rick Beasley in a newly remodeled room at the Goldbelt Hotel.  Michael Penn | Juneau Empire
Michael Penn | Juneau Empire
Fabrics echo colors in a print by Juneau artist Rick Beasley in a newly remodeled room at the Goldbelt Hotel.

When Goldbelt Hotel manager David Malone took his job in July, he had the 2010 renovation of a Sitka hotel under his belt. And good thing, too — Malone was thrown into spearheading a top-to-bottom makeover of the Goldbelt.

Native corporation Goldbelt Inc., which owns the waterfront hotel, has budgeted $2 million for the renovations, which included a complete redecorating of the inside, and an eventual change to the outside, as well.

The Goldbelt board felt it was time to make an investment in the hotel, and hoped renovations would push it ahead of the pack, Director of Tourism Marketing Joann Flora said.

“The board realized they wanted to be competitive and attract a higher level of clientele,” she said.

Malone came into the project near the end of the gutting and redecorating of the rooms, a task that had been headed up by the previous manager. About a year ago, the building began a floor-by-floor overhaul, starting with the seventh floor. Hotel staff helped remove furniture from the rooms — quite the undertaking, Malone said.

“There are 104 rooms. You have to get every last piece, you have to haul it down, you have to put it in storage.”

He said most hotels will bring in companies from other cities to remove old furniture and replace it with new furnishings, along with the other work that goes into each room. In the Goldbelt’s case, “the vast majority of the people were local,” Malone said.

The Juneau companies that have worked on the project so far are NorthWind Architects, LLC, North Pacific Erectors, Inc., Rainbow Builders, Alcan Electrical & Engineering, Inc., Vanpool Painting, Inc., and Perseverance Paper Hanging, Malone said.

Each room now has entirely new furniture, including new mattresses and bedclothes. The wireless internet has been updated for faster browsing. The entire hotel has new carpeting and wall coverings. The building now features multiple meeting rooms and a gym. But perhaps the most unique aspect of the renovation is the hotel’s new art — historic photographs and pieces by local artists line the hallways and fill the lobby.

“This place was loaded with ‘hotel art,’” Flora said. “Now the art is relevant to our location.”

A piece by Juneau artist and Goldbelt shareholder Rick Beasley hangs in each of the hotel rooms. The design, created especially for the hotel, is a traditional ovoid, “an element that represents a period of time a long time ago,” Beasley said. The black, red and turquoise in Beasley’s print are referenced in the rooms’ decor.

Many of the historic photos in the hotel feature ancestors of Goldbelt shareholders, Beasley said.

There’s much more to come for the hotel, Flora said. The lobby will be tiled, new lobby furniture installed, the elevators redone, automatic doors put in, and, finally, the facade updated. The outside of the Goldbelt will be powerwashed and repainted, and parking will be reconfigured, Flora said.

“It doesn’t matter what your building looks like on the inside if it looks run down on the outside,” she said.

Work on the facade will begin mid-2014, Malone said.

“You’ll see a much more modern paint scheme,” he said. “The goal is to make it much more colorful. We haven’t figured out what those colors will be.”

“It was left without a lot of attention for a long time,” said Flora, adding that the Goldbelt is excited about the hotel’s future and the progress it’s already made. “It’s got some real local feel to it.”

• Contact reporter Katie Moritz at 523-2294 or at katherine.moritz@juneauempire.com. Follow her on Twitter @katecmoritz.

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