TJ Rusk Hotel will open as a mini-mall and apartments

January 22 – The long-vacant TJ Rusk Hotel, located at the intersection of 6th and Main streets in Rusk Square, is once again occupied. Jan Pate, in what he calls adaptive reuse, is developing the site into the TJ Rusk Hotel Marketplace.

The hotel, like the town of Rusk, is named after Thomas Jefferson Rusk. Rusk (1803-1857) signed the Texas Declaration of Independence and was named Secretary of War in 1836, according to the Texas State Historical Association. A hero of the Texas independence struggle, Rusk also served as a Representative to the Republic’s Second Congress and Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.

The hotel, established in 1889, has recently been just an empty reminder of better economic times, but Pate intends to revive the building.

“It’s a historic building. It’s in great shape. We’ve upgraded it tremendously with a lot of elbow grease,” Pate said. “It’s my personal project that fascinates me a lot.”

Although he realized that it could no longer be used as a hotel, he wanted it to fulfill the purpose for which it was created which, according to him, is to serve people. Each of the two floors will serve distinct needs, such as a mini-mall and apartments.

“These will be malls where people can rent space to start a business,” Pate said of the ground floor of the building.

About ten spaces will be available for retail businesses. Pate also has its own cabinet shop downstairs. The old reception remains in the original reception area which has a kitchen in the back, which Pate says could eventually be used as an event center.

The first company to set up shop is a custom t-shirt company, Miatee’s Creations. It is located on the Main Street side, opposite Citizens 1st Bank. A trade show is also on the way, according to Pate.

Retail space rents for $650 a month, with utilities included and 24-hour access.

The second floor will be used for residential units. A total of 32 units are expected to be available as one-bedroom apartments or efficiencies. Having acquired the property at the end of 2021, Pate’s renovations are underway and the apartments are rented out as they are completed.

“People call us. They call us looking for a place to live,” Pate said. “Housing is something we need here in Rusk.”

Already installed in the building is a complete fire alarm system and sprinkler system. Internet access will be made available to residents. A paying laundry room is planned, but not yet completed.

Residential spaces will be leased for $450 to $650 per month with all bills paid.

Only one bedroom upstairs is reserved for possible short-term rental, subject to city approval. It is located in the corner of the building with windows facing both 6th and Main Street. The room will have a full kitchen, living room, bathroom and a small bedroom, according to Pate.

He hopes to complete all the renovations before the end of the year.

“For 14 years this place was an eyesore,” Pate said, “now it’s starting to come back to life.”

For those interested in retail or residential units, contact Jan Pate at 903-721-3556.

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