Dressed in an old Maytag Corporation lab coat owned by a former employee, developer Jack Hatch unveiled the $16 million renovations of the former Hotel Maytag building to the public and the local and state leaders who supported his efforts.
At the grand opening celebration Wednesday afternoon, Hatch said he was feeling “elated,” not only because the project is near completion — there’s still another month left to go — but because the building is providing what he wanted to the community.
"It's a lifeline to people who had memories here," Hatch said of the 93-year-old building. "It's a symbol of the future of what is potentially available. It provides jobs. It provides housing. It provides downtown leverage. It is doing exactly what I wanted it to do."
Now known as the Historic Hotel Maytag Apartments & Event Center, the downtown Newton structure houses 45 apartment units and an ornately embellished ballroom available to rent, as well as a restored Capitol II Theatre and Midtown Cafe on the east side of the building, facing the town square.
Newton Mayor Mike Hansen described the process, from start to finish, as a “collaborative effort to restore and renovate” an “iconic and key building” in downtown Newton. The concept of finding a developer to renovate the former Hotel Maytag building, he added, was introduced in 2016. The City of Newton later purchased the building that very same year.
Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds and Lt. Gov. Adam Gregg also attended the celebration, who congratulated Hatch and the City of Newton on the long and arduous project.
“The City of Newton recognized the potential of this building despite the 30 years the building stood silent,” Reynolds said.
Half a year ago, the apartments were nothing but metal frames, an artist’s outline on a blank canvas. The ballroom proved to be even more difficult, requiring more than just a new paint job to fix the aging architecture. Hatch certainly had his work cut out for him.
Demolition work from Earth Services & Abatement and Iowa Demolition rid the building of its unpleasantries. Architecture firm RDG Planning & Design helped create a new look on the inside while still maintaining historical integrity. Contractor Estes Construction put all the pieces together and helped restore the building to its former glory.
To put it plainly: a lot has changed.
“Including my hair,” Hatch said with a laugh, acknowledging the long length of his Lebowski-like locks. “There’s kind of just a sense of doing what the building tells us to do. When you have to follow kind of the history of the building and the structure of the building, sometimes it won’t let you do things.”
Other times it will. When a citizen visited the building during its construction phase, for example, and offered an old photograph of the Hotel Maytag staff to Hatch, the developer saw an opportunity. His wife, Sonia, recommended he frame the photo inside the completed Historic Hotel Maytag Apartments & Event Center.
“And then I thought, ‘Oh yeah I’ll frame it alright,’” Hatch recalled.
Now, when guests open the doors of Historic Hotel Maytag Apartments & Event Center, they are immediately greeted by staff of the former Hotel Maytag. The blown up, black-and-white image features a number of people with Ernest W. Zeug sitting in the middle.
Larry Hurto, chair of the Newton Historic Preservation Commission, told the Newton Daily News the photo was taken in May 1938. Zeug was the proprietor and manager of Hotel Maytag and would eventually become the mayor of Newton.
Alida Anderson, property manager of Historic Hotel Maytag Apartments & Event Center, said, “You can just stare at it (the photo) for hours on end and see all the detail.”
Hatch added, “You can’t help but smile when you see that. And you’re reminded that this is an old building that’s been rehabbed.”
Contact Christopher Braunschweig at 641-792-3121 ext. 6560 or email@example.com