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Mineral Wells hopes for foreign investment in Baker Hotel

It used to be a destination for Hollywood stars, but the glamor of the Baker Hotel in Mineral Wells is long gone.
The Baker Hotel in Mineral Wells sits closed.

MINERAL WELLS – It used to be a destination for stars like Judy Garland and Clark Gable, but the glitz and glamor of the Baker Hotel in Mineral Wells is long gone.

"It's very sad to see it like this," said Glenda Martin Niklas, who honeymooned at the hotel in 1950.

But an international investor could determine a new fate for the once-iconic building.

Under terms discussed this week, city officials hope the U.S. will offer citizenship to a foreign investor in exchange for a hotel renovation project. The program allows for a 24-month conditional residence, then the investor would apply for a permanent residency.

Right now, people living in the city still see potential past the rust and shattered glass.

"If this renovation comes about, and it's restored to its original grandeur, it'll be quite an economic transfusion for the City of Mineral Wells," said Baker Hotel memorabilia collector Rollie Hudnell.

Hudnell and his wife run an antique shop right across the street from the hotel.

"I always looked at it and knew somebody who really loved her was going to put her back together," Dianna Hudnell said.

The renovation project is estimated to cost around $60 million.

If all goes as planned, construction could begin in the next two years.