The on-again, off-again renovation of the former Gabe’s Tower in Owensboro is finally on again. It was once a premier hotel and meeting place. With an architectural style not seen in the Tri-State. Asbestos cleanup crews are on site now for the first job in transforming the landmark tower back into a hotel.
The sounds of moving and preparing, breaking the silence at Gabe’s Tower.
“I want to see it built, so I can go in there and see what it looks like,” says Jaccob Lindsey, who lives across the street from the tower. He says seeing the workers moving equipment in is a welcome sight.
“I heard about the work being done to it, and I’ve never seen anything out there until today. I actually went to tell my girlfriend when she gets off work, ‘Hey, they’re actually doing some work on it,'” he says.
Workers are preparing for asbestos removal and interior demolition, much of the work starting as soon as Thursday. Renovations were delayed last year asbestos concerns. Environmental tests showed small amounts were found inside, including in panels below room windows.
“It was kind of interesting to see people start do something with this place here,” says David Whitely of Fordsville.
A project spokesperson says the removal of asbestos and other materials will take up to three months. City Manager Bill Parrish says developers still plan to turn it into a 120 room hotel, and return the tower back to its glory days.
“I think there’s a certain nostalgic value to taking a hotel from that era, rebuilding it, finishing it. I think a lot of people want to stay there,” he says.
Parrish says work was supposed to restart earlier this summer, but building owners had to find a new company to remove the asbestos after the original one didn’t have the personnel to do the job.