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After long delays, Motel Inn redevelopment set to start in two months

Posted at 11:44 AM, Feb 15, 2018

The historic Motel Inn sits quiet and dilapidated, as it has for several decades. However, developer Damien Mavis of CoVelop Inc. says that will soon change.

“The past few months we’ve been finalizing our permits, finalizing our construction schedule,” said Mavis. “We’d rather take some time now basically to ensure that as construction is winding up in 14-16 months from now, everything works smoothly.”

More than six months ago, developers had hoped to start construction on San Luis Obispo’s storied Motel Inn.

Despite long delays, developers say groundbreaking is now just weeks away.

The property became the world’s first motel when it opened in 1925 at the base of the Cuesta Grade, allowing motorists to pull off Highway 101 and right up to their bungalow hotel rooms.

It was famous for hosting Hollywood stars traveling between Los Angeles and San Francisco.

But the motel fell on hard times in the 1960s and eventually shut down.

There have been multiple failed attempts to reopen it.

In the past few years, a team of local developers has been drawing up plans to revitalize the property.

The motel’s redevelopment is a joint venture by CoVelop Inc., Rob Rossi and Silver Lining Hospitality.

Mavis says it has been a long and complicated process but their plans will soon come to life.

“We hope to be under construction, breaking ground in 60 days and we hope to be open by mid-2019,” said Mavis. “That’s the plan, barring any unforeseen roadblocks.”

The new motel will have more than 50 rooms, including original Spanish bungalows and converted Airstream trailers.

Mavis says the Airstreams are already ordered and on their way from a fabricator in Canada.

King Ventures has agreed to rebuild and operate the steakhouse restaurant adjacent to the motel.

“We’re pretty much through the permitting process,” Mavis said. “We’re just fine-tuning that and really at this point, we’re just finalizing financing and dealing with the construction schedule.”

Despite the delays, Mavis is confident it will be worth the wait.

“We wanted to get it right,” he said. “You know, it’ll be here for the next 100 years so we wanted everything to work out perfectly.”