BY WILLIAM PATRICK
firstname.lastname@example.org Nov 15, 2018
Mike Searcy and Jean Mollard of
the Redlands Hotel proudly display their first-place award
from the Texas Downtown Association President's Award
renowned among natives, the Redlands Hotel is receiving
statewide recognition by scoring a first place in the Texas
Downtown Association President's Award program.
Redlands beat out more than 100 other statewide applicants
in the “best renovation, restoration,
rehabilitation” category for the work done this year to
restore the lobby of the downtown hotel.
annual award recognizes outstanding projects, places, and
people of Texas. The Redlands Hotel competed against other
projects in cities of 15,000 to 100,000.
Wednesday, Jean Mollard, who owns and operates the Redlands
with her partner, Michael Searcy, sat in the renovated lobby
of her hotel, under the glow of chandeliers plugged into
original, early-20th century sockets, and keeping warm by
the fireplace, built with the hotel in 1914.
so happy to receive this award,” Mollard told the
Herald-Press. “The work is tedious, because we intend to
adhere to historic standards and retain the history, while
making it useful today.
“People walk into an
establishment with expectations of comfort. It can look like
the turn of last century, but no one wants to be cold in the
winter or hot in the Texas summer.”
said she didn't know how much the renovations cost, but the
project was self-funded, without assistance from grants.
the many changes: Ripping up the lobby carpeting, glued down
in the 1970s, to reveal a hand-laid marble floor.
Contractors also took down walls and moved air conditioning
units, and even plumbing to retain the old-world character
of the lobby.
Palestine Economic Development
Corporation Assistant Director Greg Laudadio said TDA judges
were looking for what he referred to as “the 3 R's”:
restoration, renovation and rehabilitation.
most difficult part is in the restoration, while also
rehabilitating the building for modern use,” he said. “The
judges want to see historical accuracy, but everything must
be usable in today's world.”
100 award applicants, eleven, including the Redlands, made
it to the final round, where TDA judges visited the
Palestine Historic Preservation
Officer Jacob Morris said he was not surprised when the
Redlands came out on top.
“It is not unusual for a small
city of less than 20,000 people to have had a large anchor
hotel in the early 20th century,” Morris said. “It is very
unusual for a city of this size to have successfully
rehabilitated such a structure. Even more rare is for a
rehabilitation of this size to be conducted by private
Lobby renovations took roughly
six months. They were, however, only the latest in the
decades of restoration Mollard has done on the hotel since
she purchased it with then-husband Norman Mollard in 1976.
not a money-making investment,” she said of the constant
work that she, her family and crew do on the building every
day. “It's a labor of love.”
Director Gayle Cooper said the city reaps substantial
benefits from the work Mollard does, including the award.
already considered the Redlands the landmark commercial
building in Palestine,” she said. “With the winning of this
prestigious award, clients and tourist from all over the
state, and even the country, will consider the Redlands
whenever they visit Palestine.”
means more revenue from hotel occupancy and sales tax.
good fortune on Jean,” Cooper said. “Her good luck is also
good luck for the city.”
Proudly displaying the lobby's
woodworking, paint and original, hand-laid tile floors which
were built, cleaned, and repaired to turn of the 20th
century conditions, Mollard contemplated her next project.
Polar Express is starting,” she said. “We have to get our
Christmas decorations up for the guests. I've got to make
sure there's a Christmas tree in every room for the kids.”