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Developers Unveil Plans To Restore Shuttered Historic Sioux City Hotel

Developers are bringing a shuttered historic hotel in Sioux City back to life.
Restoration St. Louis is renovating the 10-story Warrior Hotel and adjacent six-story Davidson Building into a 148-room Autograph Collection by Marriott hotel complete with amenities like a bowling alley, spa, restaurants, lobby bar and a ballroom. The top two floors of the six-story Davidson will have 22 luxury apartments.

The Warrior Hotel in downtown Sioux City has been vacant for more than 40 years. The Warrior and Davidson properties have been listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Once they are renovated, the buildings will be connected by a skywalk.

On a walk-through of the hotel lobby, owners and developers Amrit and Amy Gill pointed out the historic decor - plastered cow skulls on some of the hotel's columns, tiny dolphins and Greek keys.

"I love this place. So cool," said Amy Gill, as she took it all in.

She said some of the decor are “like a mystery."

“How did it all end up like this?” Amy Gill asked. “I’m sure as we go along we’ll find more and more and more clues, but sometimes it’s like a mystery figuring out how they did, why they did what they did.”

Amrit Gill is the president of Restoration St. Louis and Amy Gill is the president of Checkmate Design. The Gills said they were approached nearly two years ago by the buildings’ owner, Lew Weinberg, to help develop the project. Weinberg is associated with the project as a limited partner.

The Gills point out that the Warrior was gutted a long time ago, so as they try to restore it to its past, they do have remnants, but don’t have a lot to work with. They’re asking people who may have stayed at the Warrior in the past to send photos of their time at the hotel, to help clue them into its history.

But Amy Gill says they are planning to keep the hotel’s classic decorations and historic art-deco style.

“It will be very art deco, very kind of gloriously sexy, mysteriously beautiful interiors,” Amy said. “And I think that it lends itself to a five-star hotel because it’s very rich, it’s very glamorous.”

And, as Amrit Gill says, the Warrior has a lot of potential.

“Every building has a sense in it. I think, I can sense this building is thrilled that it’s finally going to be put back into use, personally. Call it sappy, but, you know…” Amrit said.

Similar Hotel Projects In Davenport:

The Gills have renovated two hotels in downtown Davenport that they say have contributed to the growth of the city.

“The entire downtown, it was an employment center, but by 5:30, everybody would leave,” Amrit Gill said. “We used to always joke that if I had shot a cannon off in downtown Davenport at 5:30 in the evening, no one would’ve noticed because there was no one there.”

They completed the renovation of the Blackhawk Hotel in 2010 and said since then, more than 250 businesses have opened up downtown.

“Sioux City is ahead of where Davenport was 10 years ago,” Amrit Gill said. “There are businesses downtown. It is thriving to a certain extent. [The Warrior and Davidson] will just be a further catalyst to continue development.”

Just like in the planned Warrior and Davidson, the Davenport hotels, Hotel Blackhawk and The Current, have apartments. The Gills said apartment dwellers give more local flavor to the hotels.

“In all of our buildings we have tenants who live there who we’ve nicknamed the mayor because they greet people at the bar and they will take them on a tour…” Amy Gill said.

"…They’ll take them on a tour and tell them all about the history!” Amrit Gill chimed in. 

Role In Sioux City's Downtown Growth:

The Warrior is one of four anchor projects in Sioux City's Reinvestment District, making up a total of $151 million. The Warrior and Davidson restoration is a $73 million project.

Sioux City Economic and Community Development Director Marty Dougherty said downtown Sioux City is a hub of history, culture, recreation and entertainment, making the soon-to-be-restored Warrior and Davidson a great fit for the area.

“Downtowns can really drive growth,” Dougherty said. “Like most communities in Iowa and in the Midwest, we’re trying to attract a new skilled workforce, new population and growth…we’re looking to bring in millennials and the next generations of new Iowans.”

“We’re excited about this because we think downtown is a big driver of that,” Dougherty continued. “We’ve got a fun and exciting downtown and it’s about to get a whole lot better.”

The Gills said the restored Warrior Hotel and Davidson Building project is slated to open in summer 2020.

Katie Peikes is IPR's agriculture reporter