Historic building in Montrose will transform into boutique hotel

MONTROSE, Colo. (KKCO) – One of the oldest downtown buildings in Montrose will transform into a boutique hotel to shelter visitors from around the world.

The former Knights of Pythias building, or “KP” building, is set to begin remodeling and repairs in November. In 2012, a devastating fire caused the building to become uninhabitable. It has sat vacant since.

The KP building sitting empty at 33 South Cascade Avenue Tuesday, August 16, 2022.(City of Montrose)

Earlier this year the building was sold to Clay Bales, who moved to Montrose with his fiancé and two rescue dogs “to enjoy all things Western Slope.”

“Montrose is a very special place. I was lucky enough to find Montrose while working on due diligence on another hotel opportunity,” Bales said. “I have spent my career in hospitality and had the pleasure of working on hotel developments all over the country from Vancouver, Canada, to Washington DC and have never found a place where being hospitable is so deeply ingrained in everyone in the community.”

According to Bales, the hotel will host 18 upscale boutique hotel rooms. The entrance and check-in area will feature a parlor-style lobby bar and will host some rooms on that same entrance level for easier accessibility.

Additionally, 10 rooms will become “lofted” suites, taking advantage of the 26-foot vaulted ceilings on the second floor.

The Rathbone Hotel is anticipated to open in the winter of 2023. The hotel’s name, the Rathbone Hotel, comes from the founder of the Knights of Pythias organization, Justus Rathbone, who founded the organization in Washington DC in February 1864.

The Knights of Pythias building was initially constructed in 1909 at a cost of $24,300. According to the Montrose County Historical Society, the building was once home to the Wonder Store in the bottom part of the building and the lodge hall was upstairs. The great lodge hall was 50 by 75 feet and had a maple wood floor.

The building held a variety of businesses and groups in the following years, including the community’s original Elk’s club, Hupp Furniture, Safeway and Mash Appliances. In 2012 it was home to Budget Line Appliances when the fire forced business closure and upstairs residents to relocate.

The KP used as a downtown grocery store with upstairs office spaces in this undated file photo.
The KP used as a downtown grocery store with upstairs office spaces in this undated file photo.(City of Montrose)

Earlier this year, Region 10 in Montrose, with help from Region 9 in Durango, secured a Community Development Block Grant through Region 10’s economic assistance program to assist in the hotel project. The Montrose County Board of County Commissioners gave their support with the aim that the project will help create jobs and add more lodging options in the community.

“Region 10 is excited to work with our community partners in assisting with this project that will bring a new business to the downtown of Montrose and the jobs that it will create,” said Dan Scinto, Region 10’s Business Loan Fund Director.

“The City of Montrose is thrilled about this project. The KP Building has sat empty for so long and this project will not only activate the building, but the entire downtown area,” Russo said. “The city was happy that we were able to assist Clay Bales and his team on this project.”

Jason Raible, a Telluride resident, is working alongside Bales on the project. He expresses his excitement to continue the building’s legacy.

“I’m very excited to have the opportunity to partner with Clay and this great team of talented professionals to make this 113-year-old building pretty again,” Raible said. “The landmark historic buildings that proliferated downtown in the early 1900s contribute so much to the unique identity of the city. We also believe they can play a key role in the continued growth of the downtown economy. The KP is a gorgeous building with a great story that I’ve always admired. We can’t wait to get started.”

• Artist renderings show proposed renovations to the exterior of the KP Building which will...
• Artist renderings show proposed renovations to the exterior of the KP Building which will open as the Rathbone Hotel in late 2023.(City of Montrose)
Artist renderings show proposed renovations to the interior of the KP Building which will open...
Artist renderings show proposed renovations to the interior of the KP Building which will open as the Rathbone Hotel in late 2023.(City of Montrose)

More information about the Rathbone Hotel’s development and completion plans will be released once it becomes available.

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