The city has started the process of condemnation and major health and life safety issues remain in the building shut down by the courts after numerous fire code violations.
The owner, Dr. Yuseph Tai, told the Southern Illinoisan last week a $4 million two-phase renovation will begin soon.
"We're starting soon," Tai said of the remodeling effort. "The first phase is to get the building in compliance (with city fire and county health codes) and get 100 rooms open to the public."
Tai said phase one will cost him about $1.2 million. The next step would be to get the additional 100-plus rooms and banquet hall up and running. Total cost is projected at upwards of $4 million.
Tai said his hope is to open next spring possibly in connection with the Hilton Garden Inn chain, but he said he hasn't worked out a deal with the corporation.
Built as the first motel west of the interstate in Marion as well as the largest motel with 200 rooms, the building first housed the Holiday Inn before it first lost its franchise and the owners picked up the Travelodge brand. After losing that national brand it became the Executive Inn.