Buyer Sought for Historic Magnolia Inn
Pat Corso believes that finding the right buyer for the Magnolia Inn should be a “rallying point” for the entire Pinehurst community.
“It’s such a historic and unique entity in the village,” said Corso, who is partnering with Ken Baer to broker the property on behalf of Atlanta-based Hodges Ward Elliott. “We need to ensure it’s successful.”
Village Manager Andy Wilkison said the village is ready to help in any way that it can.
“We need a buyer who is going to be as much a fixture in the community as that building,” Wilkison said.
Opened in 1896, the Magnolia Inn was the second lodging property — the Holly Inn was the first— built by the Tufts family during their creation of Pinehurst. It cost $4,300 and initial room rates were $8 to $12 per week.
“The Tufts started with smaller lodging options in the village because they didn’t know if they would need a big hotel,” Corso said.
The Magnolia was originally five stories. But when James Tufts built the Carolina Hotel in 1901, he was disturbed by the fact that the Magnolia obstructed the view of the village from the new hotel.
So, a crew of workmen descended on the Magnolia to cut off the top two floors and add a new roof to the building. The architectural drawings for the renovation, which was done by a Boston firm, are housed at the Tufts Archives in Pinehurst.
The Magnolia has been a boarding house or hotel since it opened, except for a brief period in the late 1940s when two doctors located a small medical clinic there. There are no room numbers, only names such as “Ross,” “Tufts” and “Azalea.”
Today, the 10-room inn at the corner of Magnolia and Chinquapin roads is on the National Register of Historic Buildings and Sites.
“It’s got a pretty charming history,” said Corso, former president and CEO of Pinehurst Resort. “The right owner could make it a real jewel in the community.”
The 8,000-square-foot inn, which has a tax value of $1.675 million, is listed at $1.275 million. A restaurant and pub are n the ground floor, with five guest rooms on each of the upper floors.
“The layout on the ground floor creates all kinds of opportunities,” Corso said. “You could shut down the restaurant and just have the pub, or vice versa.
The guest rooms, each of which has a private bathroom, combine 19th century Victorian charm with the comfortable atmosphere of the south.
“Architecturally, it’s one of my favorite buildings in the village,” said Caleb Miles, president and CEO of the Pinehurst-Southern Pines-Aberdeen Area Convention & Visitors Bureau (CVB). “It’s pretty. It’s got great lines. It’s got that New England sensibility.
“It just looks like it really belongs there and epitomizes what the village is all about.”
Miles said the inn has always attracted guests who want to “soak up” the tradition, history and culture of the village.
“For some people, the Magnolia is the ideal choice,” he said. “That hotel may not have a huge number of rooms, but what it does for the image and the brand is irreplaceable. One of the things that helps distinguish a destination like ours is the unique lodging options.”
Wilkison has fielded several telephone calls this spring — both from guests inquiring about previously made reservations, and representatives of potential buyers.
“I think it’s very important to get someone in and get it going,” he said. “We want to help them get off to not only a quick start, but a smooth one.”
Corso said the inn does not need an “inordinate amount” of repair to become operational again, which is one reason BB&T decided to sell the property rather than foreclose on it.
“You’re sitting on the cusp of the run-up to the 2014 U.S. Opens,” Corso said. “It’s a good time for somebody, and the bank is motivated to sell it. It’s got great potential for the right buyer. We just need to get someone in there. It’s key to this community.”
Contact Ted M. Natt Jr. at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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