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Razing of hotel final chapter in long battle

– The new owners of the Executive Inn plan to hold a liquidation sale this month before the hotel at 1 Executive Blvd. is torn down.

Andrews Oil Co. of Mount Carmel, Ill., announced Tuesday that it had bought the 172-room hotel and the 7.5 acres from previous owner Mark Valdes. Rick Andrews, the company’s owner, said the company had been trying to come to a deal with Valdes for more than two years, so the family is thrilled to finally take ownership.

The company has hired International Content Liquidations Inc., Dayton, to conduct the sale.

“Anything and everything will go,” Andrews told the Vincennes Sun-Commercial Thursday morning from inside the closed hotel. “Right down to the woodwork.”

Andrews is working to get the proper access permits to hold the sale inside the hotel’s atrium.

It has been closed for years, even condemned by the city, because it was considered to be a fire hazard.

Rather eerily, however, the hotel’s atrium looks as though it’s ready for guests, with burgundy tablecloths, mirrored centerpieces and even the salt and pepper shakers still on the tables.

Silk greenery still drapes down from the floors above.

Everything in both the bars, Kazoos and the Rendezvous Room, also will be sold, Andrews said, including the ornate wooden bar in the latter.

Beds, TVs and lamps will also be pulled out of the hotel’s rooms and sold as well.

Andrews Oil hopes to hold the sale by the end of the month and then proceed with razing the hotel shortly thereafter. He wants to have the site cleaned and ready for construction of a new gas station and convenience store, a Fastbreak Marathon station, by the end of April.

The Andrews own other Fastbreak stations in Princeton, Fort Branch, Evansville and Mount Carmel, Ill. This Vincennes location will mark the seventh one, he said Thursday.

Klenk Company in Evansville, which tore down the Executive Inn in Evansville, will handle demolition.

Andrews also said, once the site is cleaned, he plans to sell off the northern portions of the property.

The sale brings to end a yearslong battle to see the eyesore hotel razed. The state’s Department of Homeland Security first closed it years ago under former mayor Terry Mooney.

In the years that followed, it was reopened, closed, reopened then closed again as its future was tied up in court.

Then in the fall of 2011, as the hotel continued to deteriorate under Valdes’ ownership, the city sought to tear it down.

A year later, the city’s newly formed Building Safety Commission voted to allow demolition, but Valdes appealed that decision to Knox County Circuit Court Judge Sherry Gregg Gilmore.

Months later, she upheld the Building Safety Commission’s ruling, but Valdes again appealed to the state appellate court.

In November, the state sided with Gregg Gilmore and ruled to allow for demolition. Valdes had until Friday to either ask the state appellate court to reconsider or appeal to the state Supreme Court.