Hotel is now part of a franchise

Published 9:23 am Monday, May 31, 2010

The hotel at 2301 E. Main St. in Albert Lea is now a franchise of Knights Inn. Owners Mike Nevins and Amar Singh are in the process of renovating the property.

Nevins also owns Minnesota Aviation, and Singh owns a hotel in Wisconsin. They bought the hotel in October of 2009 at a Freeborn County Sheriff’s Office auction. Singh said the price they paid was $1.9 million for the hotel, and since October they have completed about $300,000 in repairs and updates.

“We did a deep cleaning of the whole property,” Singh said. “We did a lot of work on the roof because of leakage.”

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They cleaned the hotel and had it inspected by the city of Albert Lea. Also, when they bought the hotel they had been told the delinquent taxes the previous owner owed would be forgiven. Now they have been told they must pay the delinquent taxes to be able to receive a liquor license from the city.

Taxes owed on the building and parking lot from 2007, 2008 and 2009 total almost $184,000, according the Freeborn County Auditor-Treasurer’s Office.

The owners are in the process of a large renovation, and one floor of the hotel is completely closed off while they are updating the rooms.

“That wing will be four- star standard,” Singh said. “We want to finish as soon as possible.”

It may be a while before renovations are complete because of the amount of work the owners want to undertake. They would like to completely redo the rooms and change some aspects of the exterior of the hotel. That includes making patios and giving it a more updated look.

Singh said he would like to be able to offer travel packages and make Albert Lea a weekend destination for tourists who would like to see some nature.

“It will be a unique environment in town,” Singh said. “The city has a lot of lakes and nice parks.”

Other amenities of the 124-room, non-smoking hotel include cable TV, wireless Internet access, a small gym, as well as a pool, sauna and Jacuzzi. There are two banquet halls and three meeting rooms with moveable walls that can make the room smaller or larger. The owners plan to get all new furniture, TVs and completely update the walls and lighting. The way the hotel was designed makes it look dark inside, and they want everything to be well-lit.

“Light brings the beauty,” Singh said.

Room rates start at $49.

The as-yet-unnamed restaurant in the hotel is open for breakfast from 6 to 11 a.m. every day. There are three complimentary choices for guests and, according to Singh, the restaurant has competitive prices for the public. Eventually it will serve lunch and dinner.