Hotel Pawnee's future now controlled by local development officials

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NORTH PLATTE, Neb. (KNOP) - The Hotel Pawnee is now controlled by the North Platte Area Chamber & Development Corporation. Officials secured the tax certificate. The tax certificate, representing several years’ worth of delinquent real estate taxes.

Board chairman Dr. Ben Lashley says the board successfully negotiate the assignment with Street Corner Inc. of Lincoln. Chamber officials say they want the get the hotel into the hands of an experienced developer, and make the grand old structure into a useful again.

Chamber officials says securing the hotel is critical in the continued effort for downtown revitalization.

Lashley says the directors officially voted to use its economical development fund to pay $48,000 in back taxes plus interest a week ago. “Our board did not take this issue of financial commitment lightly and had discussed the Pawnee situation for several years leading up to the decision. In the end we felt it was the right thing to do for North Platte. Our sole purpose is to gain some control over positioning the property so that we eventually get it into the hands of an experienced developer, which will redevelop the grand old structure into a useful life once again, sooner rather than later,” Dr. Lashley said.

The Chamber Development organization has had conversations with different private entities expressing interest in the historic hotel, but those groups or developers were unwilling to wade through the complicated legal entanglement surrounding the Pawnee. According to Chamber Development board member, Bill Troshynski, “The Pawnee’s tax certificate is the key to clearing the legal cloud that looms over the property as a result of the dissolution of the Pawnee Assisted Living Corporation, the current property owner.”

Troshynski says the tax certificate and the treasurer’s tax deed are the opportunity that the community will need to get the project moving forward. He says the board is also looking forward to working with Manhattan Beach, California developer, Jay A. Mitchell, who paid the first mortgage-liens against the property.

"Mr. Mitchell very much wants to be involved in the future of the Pawnee," said Troshynski. "What we had talked about is the steps that the Chamber has taken can more easily and more quickly make that happen because we can get the ownership of the property changed and resolve the liens that are out there on the building."

With the recent assignment of the Pawnee’s tax certificate to the Chamber Development organization, the Chamber Development board will now monitor and implement the necessary legal steps required to ensure the future of the Pawnee is placed in the hands of those who recognize its significance and importance to the City of North Platte and its residents.

Chamber Development CEO Gary Person said this initial step was critical in the continued effort for downtown revitalization. “There is still a long complicated journey ahead. We looked at this situation from every angle and it just didn’t appear to have any positive path moving forward. At least this gets one of the critical issues off dead center,” Person said.

Chamber Development Board members include Dr. Lashley, Dr. Rich Raska, Troshynski, Brent Burklund, Brandon Jones, Nancy Faulhaber, Mel McNea, Jarid Childears, Clarine Eickhoff, Josh Harm, Dee Klein, Matt Hasenauer, Tony Orr, Glenn Peterson and Joe Hewgley.

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