Cleburne Times-Review, Cleburne, TX

Local News

December 15, 2010

Liberty Hotel addition planned

Cleburne residents may have noticed workers dismantling and preparing several old houses on South Robinson Street so they can be moved in recent weeks.

The former residential area between James and Harrell streets will soon hold an event center, planned by the Dudley family, owners of the Liberty Hotel, Caddo Street Grill and Wright Plaza. The plan being that the center will further revive the downtown Cleburne area while complimenting the Liberty Hotel, said Scott Dudley, president of Alexco Properties, which owns Caddo Street and the Liberty Hotel.

“We’re looking at the center, which will have a capacity of about 250 people, as something that will tie into the hotel for use for small conferences,” Dudley said. “We have a meeting room in the hotel, but it’s sometimes too small for larger groups.

“We also want to use it for weddings, family reunions and things like that. Which again, ties into the hotel since it’s right across the street so people attending business meetings or weddings can stay there. The [event center] will have a serving kitchen, and Caddo Street Grill, also across the street, will be used to prepare the food.”

Scott Dudley and his father, Howard Dudley, several years ago purchased and renovated the Liberty Hotel, which dates back to 1924. With an eye toward modern comforts while at the same time retaining the building’s original glory, the Dudley family officially reopened the Liberty in 2009. It being one of several projects undertaken by the family to improve the downtown area.

“The center will benefit the hotel and restaurant,” Scott Dudley said. “We also hope it will increase traffic in the downtown area.”

Details as to what the center will look like, and when it will be completed, are still being worked out, Dudley said.

“That’s still being decided,” Dudley said. “It will be something similar to the hotel, to compliment that building, but maybe with a little bit more of a contemporary look. We’ll open up the back parking lot [located on Anglin Street] for access. We’ll also have a green space, kind of garden area for wedding photos and open space.”

The target date for completion of the center, Dudley said, is autumn of next year.

For now, workers with Long House Moving and Leveling are addressing the six homes presently occupying the property.

“Right now we’re going to move four and probably push down one or two depending on the time frame,” said O.J. Long, owner of Long House Moving. “This one [white house on the corner of South Robinson and James streets], we’re moving it to downtown Whitney this Sunday. The guy who bought it is a retired Marine who was a veteran of the Korean and Vietnam wars. Another one’s going to Lipan. We’re going to pull them out Sunday when there won’t be as much traffic to deal with.”

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