East Texas Baptist University has received a major real estate donation. The iconic former Marshall Hotel will be turned into a center for graduate and professional programs. The eight-story hotel built in 1929 was saved from the wrecking ball by two Marshall families who’ve been renovating the building for a decade in partnership with the city. Judge Richard Anderson, one of the partners in the public-private venture, said the building was recently appraised at $3.2 million. He said giving ETBU downtown real estate will open up new opportunities for the university.
"It would make the students, faculty and administration feel much more incorporated into the business district as opposed to being out on the hill two miles removed from downtown. We think there will be synergy between ETBU and our local restaurants and businesses downtown," Anderson said.
ETBU president Dub Oliver said a feasibility study will be done to determine what programs and partnerships would be best suited for the building’s 45,000 square feet. He said this donation dramatically furthers ETBU’s aspirations for delivering graduate education.
“It’s basically a blank slate ready to be rewritten, and it’s got plumbing and electricity to all floors. So, it’s just a matter of deciding how we want to finish them out," Oliver said.
The building will continue to operate as a special event space until the university finishes its feasibility study and begins the next chapter for the downtown landmark. A reception is set for Sept. 26 in the lobby for all the donors who helped restore the Hotel Marshall from its blighted condition.