Hot Springs city council votes to condemn Majestic Hotel

HOT SPRINGS (KATV) - Less than three weeks following the fire at the historic Majestic Hotel, Hot Springs City Council votes to take action regarding clean-up of the blaze's aftermath.{} The council voted unanimously 7-0 to condemn the "yellow brick" portion of the building - the part that burned.

The meeting where city council members voted for condemnation was also an opportunity for council members to thank countless volunteers who helped out the night the Majestic went up in flames.

"We have a lot of guests to recognize," commented Hot Springs Mayor Ruth Carney.

But one of the big business items discussed at the meeting was what's next for the property at 101 Park Avenue.{} It's something business owner Justin Simon has been wondering about - his cupcake business, Fat Bottom Girls Cupcakes, is just feet from the ruins.

"We hate to see it go," said Simon.{} "But you know from our perspective we're very excited to see the rebirth of what takes place and what replaces it."

It's why the city took its swift action on Tuesday to approve an ordinance condemning the building that was already reduced to rubble back in February.{} The ordinance gives the building's owner 30 days to start the clean-up process.

"We are still in hopes that the owner will do so," said Bill Burrough, deputy city manager for Hot Springs.{} "But should he not, we want to be in a position to act immediately."

The condemnation would give the city the rights to clean-up the remains of the yellow-brick building with city funds and sue the owner for the rest.{} A "professional loss consultant" with an adjusting firm out of Oklahoma was taking pictures outside the hotel on Tuesday on behalf of the owner - a good sign the owner is following through.

As for the other building - the newer red brick building, which still stands - it will continue to stand for now.

"We don't plan on condemning that as long as it is sound and as long as it meets all of our codes," said Burrough.

The city also unanimously approved emergency funding for the emergency demolition that had to take place just after the fire.{} That project was given to Coakley Construction of Royal at a cost of $35,350.{} Burrough said he's not sure if the city will be able to recoup those funds from the building's owner.