An upper floor of the Pawnee during construction, 1929. Plumbing was installed before the concrete walls were poured.
If the financially troubled Pawnee Assisted Living Hotel would close, the building would be difficult to convert to another use and difficult to demolish.
The Pawnee is home to nearly 70 residents, many of whom are mentally ill. The low income residence is beset by financial difficulties, raising the possibility that the building might be used for something else, or demolished.
The Pawnee, constructed in 1929, was built to last. The frame is steel and the walls and floors are poured concrete. The only substantial wood in the building is in the roof.
It would not come down easy, and demolition would present a danger to nearby buildings.
If it were renovated, it would be expensive.
In 2004, city officials considered the feasibility of renovations. The authors of the study – Alley Poyner Architects of Omaha — said at the time that the building is “remarkably well preserved due to a strong maintenance program and low turnover of owners and uses.”
However, the elevators, boiler and windows are at the end of their expected life, the study said.
Alley Poyner said renovation of the building as an assisted living residence that would last long into the future would cost about $6.3 million, according to 2004 prices.
For that price, the building would still have nearly 80 small rooms/apartments, plus commercially renovated storefronts on the outside, and a renovated ballroom, kitchens, dining and recreation rooms.
The 2004 study said renovation could be partially paid with low-income tax credits and federal historical tax credits, plus an affordable housing grant, tax increment financing and other government incentive programs, as well as conventional bank loans.
But the authors of the 2004 study said renovating the building while it is occupied would be virtually unfeasible.
The Pawnee is currently under scrutiny by the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services, the Nebraska Department of Labor and the Nebraska Attorney General.
First published in the Aug. 8 print edition of the North Platte Bulletin, as part of a cover story on the Pawnee.