Housing shortage addressed with renovation of historic hotel in Russell

Like many rural towns, Russell, Kan. is facing a housing shortage. Instead of building new homes, city officials are looking to revitalize a 100-year-old home.
Published: Nov. 3, 2022 at 6:10 PM CDT
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RUSSELL, Kan. (KWCH) - Like many rural communities, Russell is facing a housing shortage. But instead of building new homes, city officials are looking to revitalize a 100-year-old hotel.

Built in the early 20th century, the once proud Holland Hotel stood dormant for years.

“Nothing was really done except for the first floor. And it was basically used for storage for the hardware store which is right across the alley to the east from it,” Russell Mayor Jim Cross said.

The plan now is to fill the Holland Hotel with lofts.

“Russell Development (Inc.) thought, ‘hey, loft-style apartments. This would be a good thing. People don’t want to take care of a yard,’” Cross said.

The hopes with the modern touches to the historic building is to attract a population of young professionals.

“The types of houses that are available, that young professionals would want, are not there,” Cross said.

Addressing this need comes with plans for Russell’s growth.

“The housing is the essential to growth. Every community in Western Kansas is looking for growth, and good quality housing is the key to that,” Cross said.

The new lofts won’t solve Russell’s housing shortage, but some community members are thankful to see steps taken toward addressing the issue. Russell business owner Mandy Funk, who works near the former Holland Hotel, said the expansion with new apartments is just what the town needs.

“I think that’s where we’re lacking actually, in the population of people,” she said. “We have a lot of older people, we have a lot of middle-age people, but we don’t have any new people coming into town.”

Funk said she wants to see her town be the best it can be.

“It makes my heart happy. I’m glad to see that there’s work being done here in the town, and the community is only going to grow from it,” she said.