PENDLETON - Restoration work will soon start on the Temple Hotel and could be completed in two years or less.

At least that's what owner Al Plute is pushing for.

"I'd like to have to done in 24 months - that's my goal - or less," Plute told the Pendleton Development Commission at its special meeting Tuesday night. "If it's at all possible, if I have it my way, I'll be totally done next November," he added.

The PDC approved Plute's facade restoration application, which seeks a total grant of $280,921, the 40 percent maximum of the $702,302 total project cost for bringing up the worn Pendleton landmark at 370 S. Main St.

The grant is the largest the PDC has approved has approved so far. The commission also agreed to extend the 18-month window for facade grant recipients to complete work to a Dec. 31, 2009 deadline based upon a recommendation from the Facade Restoration Committee.

Plute explained an 18 month window could prove tight to complete the extensive work planned for the tall building, which includes sandblasting the exterior, removing the front and side awnings, painting the exterior with a three color, Victorian palette scheme, replacing 145 windows with commercial colored vinyl dual pane, low energy windows, installing retro signage and exterior lighting, fabricating and installing 16 iron balconies for third story windows on the tallest building and more.

Providing a 30-month time frame also won't affect the amount of money a renovated Temple Hotel would bring into the Urban Renewal District. Nick Fleury, the city's urban renewal and planning specialist, explained that's because the restoration work wouldn't be completed in January 2008, when the building would be assessed a value.

Plute said at this point he's considering building condominiums on the upper floors, while retail space will be for sale on the first floor. He speculated the condos would sell for about $50,000 for a one bedroom to near $200,000 for larger units. He said the price will fit in the Pendleton market, and penciling it out shows the monthly payments would be akin to what a renter would pay for the property.

Plute said selling the space rather than just renting it will promote business owners to invest in the property.

Plute compared bringing up a building like the Temple to parents of children ready to leave home. He said his thinking is sometimes you have to be willing to let go of a building rather trying to keep it and control it all the time.

In other business, the PDC approved two other grants, including a $53,000 grant for Plute to construct a fire escape on the east face of the Temple. The other was a $35,942 facade grant for Kevin and Lori Martin, owners of the Raley Building at the corner of Southeast Court Avenue and Southeast First Street. The Martins plan to add three new storefront systems on the First Street side and an additional storefront on Court. The new fronts will use same bronze, low energy window systems as Como's Italian Eatery.

At the start of the meeting, PDC Chairwoman Marjorie Iburg explained that because this meeting was a special meeting, she would act as chair

When the PDC dismissed Jill Thorne from her role as chairwoman of the Facade Restoration Committee more than two weeks ago, Iburg said she would submit her resignation as chairwoman of the PDC. At Tuesday's meeting, Iburg said the PDC will consider that at its next regular meeting on July 17.

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