Local attorney T. K. Moffett bought the old Park Restaurant and Hotel in January 2004. Moffett has set his renovations to the facility in 10 phases. Phase I was the restaurant, which was completed and opened in 2007.
The restaurant is currently open for Saturday morning breakfast and Sunday features a buffet lunch. The lunch features fresh vegetables, salads, and several meat selections. The Sunday buffet has been drawing large crowds since Moffett opened the restaurant.
The ceiling in the restaurant were torn down to the original wood. A fireplace was placed in the center of the main dining room.
Everything in the kitchen has been rebuilt. All plumbing and electrical items either have been or will be torn out and replaced.
Phase II in finishing the banquet room and Phase III completing the party room will be totally completed by the end of the year.
Ninety-five percent of Phase IV, which is the front of the building, has been completed.
Completing the lobby, Phase V, will be finished by the end of 2009. It is currently 80 percent completed.
The other phases are: VI , second floor in 2010; VII,third floor in 2011;VIII, fourth floor in 2012. Other projects will include a courtyard in back and the roof top.
“I plan on completing a floor a year,” said Moffett. “My law office will be on the entire top floor, which will cover more than 3,500 square feet.”
One of the biggest delays in the renovations were the front windows. The concrete in the front was also taken down because it was crumbling and falling. Moffett’s contractor, Stephan Plum, used the old pieces of concrete and made new molds.
The hotel has an interesting history. Stock in the hotel, which was built in 1926, was sold by Amory Hotel & Realty Co. Amory Hotel & Realty Co. went bankrupt in 1933.
The facility was built on three different lots; one for the restaurant, one for the hotel, and one for the banquet room.
While the old hotel had 42 rooms, the new Park Place Inn will have 14 rooms; seven per floor. Each room will be different and will be named after somebody. One of the rooms will be the George Washington room, which is Moffett’s favorite person in history. That room will be furnished in colonial furniture and painted in Mt. Vernon colors. There will also be a Robert E. Lee room, furnished with Civil War period furniture. Beyond those two rooms, Moffett doesn’t know what the other rooms will be named.
“We will not have a room number, but a name,” said Moffett. “I may name a room after my mother, Mary Meek Moffett. She worked a short period of time at the Park Restaurant as a waitress. She was the best woman I’ve ever known.”
Moffett has worked with Tupelo architect Michael Jones on his plans for the inn and restaurant, but has done all design work himself.
“I have tried to preserve and restore as much as possible in the style of the original hotel,” Moffett said. “If anybody has Park Hotel stories or photographs, please contact me.”
The old chains that were originally used at the front portico are also used in the present Park Place Inn. The original elevator will be restored and put into service.
Across the front of the building will be five flags; U.S. flag, Mississippi flag, gold Amory Panther flag with black letters, and a Moffett Law Firm flag.
Moffett would like to eventually locate a pool somewhere on the property. He does plan a fountain and courtyard in he back, which can be used for weddings, etc.
“This is a hobby for me,”said Moffett. “I have traveled and taken pictures of hotels. This is also a sentimental attachment for me as when I was young, we would leave Becker Baptist Church and come here to eat.
“I am doing this on my own,” he said. “I love Amory and want to give back to the community.”
Alice Ortiz/Monroe Journal