Crews began removing the kitchen equipment Monday from the old restaurant building that formerly housed the Waterfront Grill and Bar next to the main building of the hotel.
When it is all cleared out, Rome businessman Ira Levy hopes they will then be able to go in and renovate the space to create 24 more hotel rooms and two meeting rooms able to hold 60 people each.
“We’re starting so that’s a good sign,” Levy said. “It’s the first step in the right direction.”
Levy secured financing for the expansion in November and he is meeting with the building inspector today in order to go over the plans and get final approval.
The old kitchen equipment has been sold and will be carried off this week. Hawthorn General manager Gay Nichols said they are hoping to begin work on the area by the end of the month.
A second floor is planned with a dozen rooms on each floor. Rooms on the ground floor would have balconies that overlook the Oostanaula River.