Partnership acquires former White House motel
TBL has learned that Gary Waterhouse, Carter Smith and Mike Longsdorf have finalized the purchase of the assets of the former Best Western White House Inn, 1828 S. Hastings Way, Eau Claire, from M&I Bank. The previous owners of the 66-room motel, Don and Claire Chitko, unexpectedly closed the doors on the operation in May, 2006.
Waterhouse is the co-owner of the neighboring Boston's Pizza, while Smith is a principal owner of the adjacent Wagner's Bowling complex as well as the co-owner of 17 other bowling facilities in Wisconsin and Florida. In addition, Smith is a co-owner of the 125,000-square-foot Shops on Broadway Mall in Menomonie with Longsdorf.
"We're in negotiations with a hotel franchise, but we probably won't know more for several weeks. We do plan to open within a couple of weeks...but we hope to expand the lobby, add a continental breakfast and improve the entryways," said Longsdorf, who is president of MCL Management Inc., an Eau Claire-based commercial development firm.
According to Waterhouse, the new owners hope to eventually add a banquet hall. However, he said no remodeling plans have been finalized.
"Because of the location of the motel, and with the three of us owning the surrounding property, this (purchase) made the most sense. If the motel was located somewhere else, I doubt we'd be buying it," said Waterhouse.
The 2006 assessed value of the motel and surrounding parking lot was $1.5 million, according to the City of Eau Claire Assessor's Office. In addition, fixtures and equipment were assessed as $110,200. Property taxes in 2006 totaled approximately $33,000.
Michele Toske, the former front desk manager of the motel under the previous ownership, has been named motel manager.TBL