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MINERAL WELLS Mineral Wells Mayor Mike Allen speaks about the Baker Hotel like a long-lost love.

'There's something about this hotel that gets in you,' he said. 'If you could use your imagination, you could see how grand this was.'

The 14-story Baker was the toast of Mineral Wells for decades. Opened in the 20s and closed in the 70s, the once-lavish landmark is now tattered.

Graffiti adorns the walls where rose-colored mirrors once hung.

'It's always a topic of conversation,' Allen said. 'People say, 'What are we gonna do with it?''

A group of investors from Southlake thinks it has the answer.

'We see a future,' said one of them, Chad Patton.

They're nearing the final stages of securing about $56 million in federal, state, local, and private funds to start fixing up the hotel. Many have attempted to rehab the Baker in the past, but the mayor said none have gotten this close.

Bryan Marsh wouldn't be here if it weren't for the Baker Hotel. His grandparents met in the hotel's coffee shop in 1934.

But for Marsh who now owns his own coffee shop right across the street re-opening this hotel would mean a lot... for a lot of reasons.

'The downtown area of Mineral Wells has struggled for quite a while,' he said. 'It's just time.'

Neither Marsh, nor Mayor Allen, nor the developers question the demand for a hotel like this in Mineral Wells, and they can't wait to see it return to past glory.

If all funding is secured, the developers said construction could start as early as the end of 2014, and it could welcome guests once again less than a year after that.

E-mail lzakalik@wfaa.com

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