The recovered hotel
While Rosalía Peñarrieta’s birthday was the key to rehabilitating the event rooms, the key to the guest rooms, which is to say, the hotel itself, was still missing. In spite of the efforts of the cooperative workers, a year after the occupation, they were still not in conditions to accommodate guests.
Twenty stories of hotel rooms needed furniture, sheets, repairs, hot water, paint, etc. All that was being done, little by little, story by story. Rehabilitating the event rooms, in contrast, had been simpler.
The decision was made to remove the boards that covered the front and also undertake the opening of the bar on the ground floor, a project that was going to require funds, but that would also have to be capable of generating them relatively quickly, by creating a potential source of constant revenue.
They removed part of the paneling that covered the front, to facilitate clients coming in, and the event rooms started to be rented for different activities. A little at a time, the BAUEN started to become the BAUEN cooperative, the workers’ hotel. The rooms were reopened, completing the “holding on” stage and beginning the recovery as a hotel and dining establishment.
Gladys highlights the compañeros from different hospitals who, during this time, held birthday parties, meetings, conferences, courses, and other activities that required a large place. There was also a Uruguayan theater group that used the auditorium for their performances. Those shows went on for approximately a year and, also, after each one, lunch was prepared for them, which helped get dining activities started, and which culminated in the remodeling of the bar on the ground floor.
The tattoo association known simply as “Tattoo” also started to hold its meetings and national and international conventions there. “It helped us a lot, because they filled up all the rooms. They were big events,” Gladys notes.
The teachers’ union also became a regular client. That was the beginning of the recovery of work, which would never end. In December, the workers proudly took home their first draw of 200 pesos and a little box of food for the holidays.