Home News Local News Former Sally Port Inn expected to open in October

Former Sally Port Inn expected to open in October

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Investors who own the former Sally Port Inn have filed documents for a major renovation and repair of the North Main Street hotel. (Lisa Dunlap Photo)

Management firm says it will operate as a Clarion Hotel

The former Sally Port Inn and Suites on North Main Street should reopen under a new brand in about seven weeks.

“The owner has hired Peak Hospitality … and we are tasked with executing a product improvement plan for Clarion Hotel and getting the hotel back up and operating,” said Walter Barela, a principal with the Albuquerque-based firm. “Our intention is to have it open by Oct. 15, and we plan to start hiring Oct. 1.”

City documents indicate that the owner, Access Point Financial Inc. of Atlanta, Georgia, plans about $800,000 in renovations and repairs to the two-story hotel at 2000 N. Main St.

Taz Construction and Bryan Baca Plumbing and Heating, both of Albuquerque, are doing major portions of the work.

The hotel originally opened in October 1977 with a name and exterior design that evoked the nearby New Mexico Military Institute, which had owned the land the building occupied for some time. For many years, the hotel functioned as one of the city’s premier conference sites, with meeting areas, an adjoining restaurant, a fitness area, a business center and an indoor pool and courtyard area.

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It closed unexpectedly in November 2016, when it was owned by First Capital Real Estate Trust Inc. of New York and had been affiliated with Best Western hotels. Access Point, which specializes in hospitality financing, assumed ownership in 2018, according to county property records.

Barela said that the owner likely will sell the property in a year after it is has been operating well for a while.

“It has just been sitting there vacant,” he said. “It has been vandalized, so, in talking to the lenders, we said, you know the best thing is to try to get this renovated, open, operating, and then we can try to find a buyer for it.”

He said the bulk of the work that needs to be done is repairing or replacing “antiquated” plumbing and heating and air-conditioning systems. The documents filed with the city also indicate that repairs to a portion of the roof and to 126 rooms will occur, although 65 rooms need only moderate to minor repairs.

Barela said there are also plans for exterior painting, repairs to parking lots, new landscaping, new LED lighting for cost-saving purposes and new signage, with the Clarion Hotel name expected to be seen by early October.

What won’t reopen right away, according to Barela, are the banquet, food and beverage functions. That will have to wait until a new restaurant tenant is secured to fill the spot that K-Bob’s Steakhouse vacated in early 2018.

“We have cleaned up the area. It is all ready to go,” Barela said. “We are going to run an ad to try to find a restaurant and tenant to go in there. We just want to make sure that it blends with the hotel because we will need them to handle all the catering for the hotel as well.”

Barela said on-site hiring likely will begin about Oct. 1, with 27 to 28 employees needed at opening and 45 to 50 people once the restaurant and catering services are operating. Peak Hospitality also will be hiring before the hotel opening.

The first manager is expected to be Eamon Anderson with Peak Hospitality, Barela said. Plans are for Anderson to hire a general manager that will replace him within a year or so.

Clarion Hotel is part of the Choice Hotels International group, according to its corporate website, and has franchised more than 7,000 hotels in 40 countries.

Senior Writer Lisa Dunlap can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 311, or at reporter02@rdrnews.com.