Business

Biz Buzz: Texas hotel group to convert Mission Inn

A Texas-based hotel group, K Partners Hospitality, has bought Pismo Beach’s Mission Inn to convert the hotel into a Hilton Garden Inn.

“This was an opportunity to gain a foothold in a high barrier-to-entry coastal California market,” said Mark Crisci, executive vice president for investments and development for K Partners.

Gordon Jackson, general manager of the hotel, said the Hilton franchise will give the inn a big boost.

“With Hilton, you’ve got the exposure; people know who you are,” he said.

The 120-room hotel, which was developed and built in 2007 by Arroyo Grande’s Ed Dorfman of Pismo Hotel Properties, had owed more than $14 million when its lender, Santa Barbara Bank and Trust, sold the note to Gulfstream Capital Corp. in 2008.

Blaming the recession and high building costs, Dorfman told The Tribune he was disappointed that Santa Barbara Bank and Trust did not give the hotel more time to repay the loan before selling the note to Gulfstream.

“There’s a start-up period with hospitality — it takes three to four years for a hotel to stabilize —and we were not given that opportunity,” Dorfman said.

Gulfstream then served Dorfman with a notice of default in April 2009 and started looking for a new hotel owner.

K Partners bought the property for $11.3 million, according to Alan X. Reay, founder of Atlas Hospitality Group, which tracks these types of transactions.

With the purchase of the Mission Inn, K Partners has 22 hotels in its portfolio with plans to add more.

— Melanie Cleveland

Nordic Mart now in Soda Works building

Johan Skvagerson recently opened Nordic Mart, selling European hand-knit yarn and accessories in the Soda Water Works building at 1023 Nipomo St. in San Luis Obispo.

Felicia Gurley, 29, of Arroyo Grande will manage the 500-square-foot retail location, which is one of the first in the U.S. to carry Norway-based yarn brand Garnstudio, according to Skvagerson’s wife, Lena. Garnstudio yarn, produced in Portugal, Spain, Italy, Turkey and Peru, is one of the most popular yarn brands in Europe.

The Skvagersons moved to the U.S. three years ago, and Johan Skvagerson launched Nordic Mart as an online store in 2008.

The online store has grown to serve more than 5,000 registered customers, he said, declining to disclose annual revenue. Lena Skvagerson continues to work remotely as a representative for the wholesale department at Garnstudio.

— Julia Hickey

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The Mortgage House has hired Fred Dellagatta to the lending team at its San Luis Obispo office.

Dellagatta is a real estate broker with seven years of experience as a personal income tax preparer. He has lived in San Luis Obispo County for 33 years and is a Cal Poly graduate. He is known in the local horse community as a farrier and equestrian, according to a recent announcement.

— Julia Hickey

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