Students with Clatsop Community College’s historic preservation and restoration program began the buildout of workforce housing in the former Waldorf Hotel.
Innovative Housing, Inc. hopes to open 40 units inside the old hotel — also known as the Merwyn — by the end of next year. Workers recently finished demolition and began the process of restoring the inside.
The students restored and replaced eight double-hung windows on the second floor under the guidance of Katie Rathmell, owner of Pacific Window Restoration and an adjunct instructor at the college, and Lucien Swerdloff, head of the historic restoration program.
“It’s a good opportunity for our students to work on a commercial building, but at kind of a smaller scale,” Swerdloff said.
Julie Garver, housing development director for Innovative Housing, said partnering with the college was a way to get community involvement, which grant funders love to see, while making the project more affordable.
Rathmell, who serves on the Astoria Historic Landmarks Commission, said she got an email about the project after Garver came before the commission for approval.
“They’re still trying to get funding for the windows,” Rathmell said. “Right now, we’re doing them through the college so they can get them done in a cost-efficient way.”
Garver said the original $6.7 million budget will complete the basic project. Innovative Housing is trying to raise about $200,000 for smaller items, including some rear-window restorations, a historic canopy at the front entrance and some first-floor kitchenettes that had to be cut out of the project.
“There are always extra costs that show up just before you start construction,” Garver said. “We are trying to fundraise to get back some items we had to trim.”
Work will begin soon on framing and rebuilding part of the building’s western wall, she said. Innovative Housing plans to hold more tours of the building in the spring.