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Former Central Plaza Hotel undergoing facelift with studio apartments, restaurant and more coming soon

The former Central Plaza Hotel building sits Monday at 1719 Central Ave. in downtown Cheyenne. Built in 1961, the structure is currently being revamped to include studio apartments, a future restaurant and other amenities as it gets back to usable condition soon. (Briar Napier/Cap City News)

CHEYENNE, Wyo. — Like many prominent buildings in downtown Cheyenne, the Central Plaza Hotel has got plenty of history attached to it.

Built in 1961 on 1719 Central Ave., the structure has stood tall throughout the decades in one of the busiest parts of Wyoming’s capital city. Countless travelers rested their bodies there within walking distance from the State Capitol, the Union Pacific Railroad depot (now the Cheyenne Depot Museum), and other nearby hotspots, with the hotel being particularly popular with railroad workers that were shipped all across the region for work.

But over the years, the building fell into a state of blight despite restaurant space, an indoor pool area and underground parking, among other features. The hotel was put up for sale in 2017, and a restaurant within left two years later following the owners’ frustration with the “crumbling” infrastructure, per a report by the Wyoming Tribune-Eagle.

Suddenly, a once-proud part of the downtown scene had turned into an eyesore.

“If a repair couldn’t be done with duct tape here, it has not been done for years and years,” Corey Loghry, owner of Cheyenne real estate service Lynn Buys Houses, said of the property. “It’s obviously a distressed building. … It’s sat here for years and years like an albatross.”

Loghry’s business specializes in acquiring dilapidated housing properties and reimagining them for a new age, such as what’s already been done this year at the Lariat Motel across the Greeley Highway viaduct. But now that it has purchased the Central Plaza Hotel — featuring 85 rooms and over 36,000 square feet of coverage — Loghry and her team are up against a new kind of beast.

With the time and resources that are currently being put into the hotel, however, it has serious potential to turn into something spectacular again — and unlike anything the city has seen before.

Loghry’s business is currently amid renovations to turn the hotel into The Downtowner, a studio apartment complex that Loghry hopes to have partially completed by Cheyenne Frontier Days and fully renovated by late this year.

Not only that, but there are plenty of things going on around the rest of the property, too.

A new restaurant will arrive while the pool area will be converted into an indoor dog park and an axe throwing venue, Loghry said, all capped off by a future rooftop bar that will complete the hotel’s transformation from decaying mess to lively downtown highlight. Between purchase and renovation costs, Loghry said about $7 million in total is being devoted to the building’s resurrection.

“We have a vision for the whole project,” Loghry said. “We just think that if we can do what we hope we can do that it might be a cornerstone of changing downtown a little bit. … We really want to create a little community down here.”

The eatery, which will be called Paris West Restaurant & Bar, filed a bar and grill license with the city and hopes to open up by the first week of July, Loghry said. She noted that the name comes from Cheyenne being called the “Paris of the West” by railroaders in its early days due to its fancy (for the time) architecture and overall quality.

Despite the name, Paris West won’t be a French restaurant or bistro, but still will have plenty of elegant elements. The menu, crafted by head chef Kent Cottle, will have items such as charcuterie boards, fondue and the ability for patrons to self-grill their own meal right at the table for a unique dining experience — not to mention a bar that Loghry said will seat around 70 people.

“We’ve seen very similar properties including one in Greeley, Colorado; that’s a similar one called The 609 Studios,” Carter Ward, Loghry’s business partner at the hotel, said. “They’ve actually got a waitlist on their project with 110 units down there. … I think that it has significant, great opportunity to be able to help downtown development and growth, bringing more of a tax base down here to the City of Cheyenne as well, too.”

Housing shortages, especially regarding rental properties, are nothing new in Cheyenne, but it’s a problem that requires proactive individuals to help solve. Between the many projects Loghry balances on a daily basis, she’s hoping to chip away at that issue one room at a time.

And as for the Central Plaza Hotel in particular, its history will live on for a new era as something desired, not deserted.

“Right now, they’re just kind of crappy hotel rooms,” Loghry said. “But our thought is with the amount of housing shortage in Cheyenne … our goal is to create some really cool studio spaces and have them be right downtown.”