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What's up with the Motel Inn? Developer gives an update

"It is still going to be a while before we break ground."
Posted at 10:50 AM, Feb 19, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-19 13:50:18-05

If you've driven northbound on Highway 101 through San Luis Obispo and toward the Cuesta Grade lately, you've most likely seen it - the world's first motel.

In 1925, the Milestone Mo-Tel, as it was originally called, opened in San Luis Obispo at the end of Monterey St. It was later renamed the Motel Inn.

Located smack-dab between San Francisco and Los Angeles, the motel was known for hosting Hollywood A-listers including Marilyn Monroe, Bob Hope, Lucille Ball and Clint Eastwood.

The Motel Inn struggled to recapture its original success after the Great Depression. Ownership changed hands numerous times between the 1930s and 1970s.

The property has sat shuttered and dilapidated since the 1990s.

In May 2017, KSBY first reported on the efforts of a team of developers to bring the Motel Inn back to life.

KSBY Archive: The world’s first motel to be rebuilt this summer in San Luis Obispo

Damien Mavis of CoVelop said in a 2017 interview he and his partners planned to build 55 hotel rooms on the site.

“A real strong design aspect of the original property was a series of bungalows and so about two-thirds of our rooms will be in these little Spanish bungalows,” Mavis told KSBY.

The goal was to start construction in the summer of 2017 and open for business in late 2018.

KSBY checked in with developers in Feb. 2018 for an update on the project. At that time, Mavis said progress had been delayed due to finalizing permits and construction schedules but aimed to break ground by spring of 2018.

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

Now two years later, the Motel Inn property has remained unchanged by Mavis says he isn't giving up.

"We are still working through the project financing at this point,' Mavis told KSBY. "We remain committed to getting the project off the ground, but it is still going to be a while before we break ground."

The redevelopment includes plans for bungalows, converted Airstream trailers and a steakhouse restaurant.