Old motels can be found on almost every block Downtown. They transform over the years, becoming more dilapidated, like Par-A-Dice Inn, or completely renovated, like the John E. Carson motel where Carson Kitchen and Donut Bar now operate. Some have disappeared completely, like the Eden’s Hotel that was once on 6th and Carson and is now a parking lot. One motel’s fate, in particular, has been in limbo until recently.
When Fergusons (11th and Fremont St.) was purchased by Downtown Project, there were plans presented in 2013 to renovate the building and build an amphitheater, among other upgrades, which all fell by the wayside. Since then, it’s mostly been gated up and sitting empty, with the exception of adding Mike Ross’ Big Rig Jig semi truck installation. Part of the original plans, the massive addition came to fruition last year. Now, Downtown Project is making moves to eventually transform the entire city block.
Our anchoring component to draw people to Fergusons is being rooted in nature.–Jen Taler, independent contractor for Fergusons Motel
First on the agenda is the early-July relocation of Airstream Village, a tiny home community complete with llamas Marley and Titan. Downsizing, 15 of the current 32 units will line 11th and Ogden behind the motel. The adjacent two-story building will house seven 340-square-foot studios available for rent, along with a communal kitchen, laundry room and game room. There will also be three airstream units available, including “The Mansion,” the largest tiny home available, through Airbnb. Brad Johnson, who oversees Airstream Village, says they are trying to recreate a small-town Marfa, Texas experience; the desert city is gaining recognition as an art hub. The prime East Fremont location where Airstream Village is currently located will be used for other opportunities.
While some things will change, Johnson says the goal is to keep the same inviting, communal feel of the village today. They will recreate the original lighted wooden tunnel entrance that currently exists and move the stage that is used for impromptu shows and Open-Air Sessions. There will also be an outdoor pool, fire pit and grill.
Following the move comes the renovations to the main building. Independent contractor and former Zappos employee working on the project Jennifer Taler says, “Our anchoring component to draw people to Fergusons is being rooted in nature.” The goal is to transform the 17,000-square-foot courtyard into a green space. While the plant life has not been selected yet, Taler says there will be edible plants so residents could pluck produce right off the stem. They also plan on having a water system that redirects rainwater to water the plants.
The exterior will maintain the Spanish-style design while the interior, around 14,000-square-feet, will be completely gutted. “It’s a blank canvas with character that can be transformed per business owner, ” Taler says. There are no tenants locked down yet but they plan to include both retail, restaurants, bars (a possible 5,000-square-foot brewery), work studios and event spaces. The number of spaces available is dependent on who or what is moving in. Taler says the aggressive deadline is September. Far future plans include an alley street market and skate park on 10th Street in the center of the block. In the meantime, they are planning for a natural transition into the new space.
“The overall ethos of the project is to build and grow organically,” she says.
To learn more about the Fergusons renovation message firstname.lastname@example.org.