The Oakhurst Lodge is under new ownership following the May 23 fire that destroyed 26 of the 62 rooms.
The hotel, located in the center of Oakhurst on the north-west corner of Highway 41 and Crane Valley Road (426) was acquired by First Citizens Bank on foreclosure and is in the beginning stages of evaluation.
The bank hired hotel management company, Providence Hospitality Partners, of Denver, Colo., to oversee daily operations of the hotel as of Sept. 5.
The hotel was previously owned by Steve and Gloria Marshall who bought the property from Don and Marilyn Olson five years ago.
Now that the property has changed ownership, clean-up of the remains from the fire are expected to begin within two to three weeks.
To date, PHP has completed inventory of all the rooms at the Oakhurst Lodge and is analyzing the costs and improvements necessary to get the hotel fully up and running as soon as possible.
According to Storm, improvements to the hotel will include plumbing, landscaping, carpet cleaning, painting and numerous cosmetic work to the buildings.
David Storm, of PHP, said the company is excited about the opportunity to bring back to life a hotel that is such a integral part of the community.
"We want to be as transparent as possible and want to use as many local contractors as we can," Storm said. "We are going to embrace the community and our goal is to be a respected citizen in the business community."
The management company has handled numerous bank owned properties and has extensive experience in managing and remodeling hotels in need of improvements.
Providence Hospitality Partners has worked on bank owned projects all over the nation, including New York, and feels confident in restoring the Oakhurst Lodge to operating form.
"In the last 12 years PHP has worked on 60 bank assignments we have done this all over the country," Storm said.
Storm said the bank intends to sell the hotel after renovation is complete and they can find a buyer.
"We are doing an assessment of the hotel for the bank we are here to enhance to value of the assets,"J Storm said. "We are going to have the damaged structure removed and fill in the site with indigenous material, at that time we will make a recommendation to the bank to either rebuild or dispose of the asset but its ultimately their call."
Storm said PHP likes to take the approach of "secure, stabilize and promote," when taking over a hotel, and said although the hotel will not be completely finished he hopes to have enough completed to re-open in early to mid-October.