LEWISTOWN - The transformation of the former Hotel Lewistown into Ansal Apartments is complete and residents have moved in.
Joe Gagliardo, the owner of the building, said the renovations are complete and an occupancy inspection occurred on Aug. 28.
"After the inspection we were officially opened for business," Gagliardo said. "There are 22 units all together and one is vacant."
Sentinel photo by LAUREN KERSHNER
The former Hotel Lewistown building has now become Ansal Apartments with upgrades that include a new security system.
Gagliardo and his wife, Lori, own other apartments in Lewistown, and Lori said this project was special to the two of them.
"Joe and I fell in love with this building," Lori said. "We had an attachment and love for the building that drove us to save it."
The Gagliardos said the goal was to keep as much of the historic value of the original hotel intact. Joe said that one of the highlights of the old hotel was the large lobby, which was kept the same except for some new furniture.
"Some people were telling us that this large lobby was a waste of space," Joe said. "I didn't think so ... for me this was part of the appeal of the building."
They also kept every interior door from the original hotel, along with the original key boxes. The elevator was still in working condition when they began the renovation. Joe said he and his wife kept the elevator as close to historic quality as possible.
"The old hand crank was the only way when we started to move the elevator up and down," Joe said. "We had to upgrade the elevator to meet the new standards, but we kept the original door that needs to be pulled open and the old grate as well."
Jim Zubler, executive director for Downtown Lewistown Inc., said the Gagliardos went above and beyond expectations when it came to building upgrades.
Lori and Joe said while they were focused on the historic value of the hotel, other renovations were needed, including a complete upgrade to the fire alarm system and updating the stairwells to a two-hour fire rating, meaning if a fire were to occur, someone could stand in the stairs for up to two hours before harm might come to them. Joe said some of these upgrades were what caused the old hotel to close in the first place.
They said one of their top priorities with all of their apartment buildings is security. Lori said they post cameras in all common areas of the apartment and tenants receive key devices which only let in tenants.
"It provides a sense of security for our tenants," she said. "They know that no one can enter off of the streets without being on a camera."
Zubler said the renovations of the old hotel
have been a great addition for the community and
he is captivated by the security system.
"The hotel maintains its original character," Zubler said. "This security system is something that I, and others, can learn more about. We can learn how it can be applied in other situations and shown to other property owners to increase security in other buildings."
Joe said he thanks all who were involved with the project, including: Zubler, code enforcement offices, all of the local contractors involved and Juniata Valley Bank.