While driving along Highway 101 through Paso Robles, it’s hard to miss the iconic River Lodge Motel sign.
The historic property will soon drop the motel title from its name and be re-branded as the River Lodge.
Nomada Hotel Group is overhauling the property to fully renovate the rooms and suites and add a central pool, outdoor gardens, a lobby market, an indoor/outdoor bar and full-service restaurant.
Some residents are excited to see the property is receiving a much-needed facelift.
“It definitely needed repairs. I thought they were tearing it down personally," said John Rogers, Paso Robles resident.
“Good, because it was kind of getting run down and there was a lot of the homeless kind of taking it over and it was kind of an eyesore, but as long as they can do something nice with it, that would be great," said Javier Diaz, Paso Robles resident.
But others say there’s no shortage of hotels and motels in the area and they would like to see the property turned into something more useful.
“They only need them a couple times a year for the wine festival and the fair. Other than that, they’re mostly empty all the time,” Rogers said.
“You know, I don’t even think it should exist. I think it should be just torn down,” said Scott Burg, Paso Robles resident.
“I think there’s a need for it. It’s an old facility, but the need should be based on what the community requires rather than just a commercial interest," said Dan Mosunich, Templeton resident.
Mosunich says there should be more of a focus on providing reasonably priced housing in the area rather than another commercial hotel property.
City officials say they’re glad the property is being restored.
“The River Lodge was vacant for quite some time and it was very run down, so we’re just excited to get it all fixed up and back in use," said Brian Cowen, City of Paso Robles Building Official.
Paso Robles City Planner Darren Nash says the building’s blueprint is mostly staying the same, with the addition of a few new amenities.
“Restoring these, restoring the architecture, restoring the signage for them really is what the city sees as a benefit," Nash said.
The River Lodge plans to reopen during the summer of 2023.
Nomada Hotel Group says this project will add additional hospitality jobs to the area and is part of their mission of rejuvenating older properties.