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Historic Park Inn Hotel gets new management

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The Historic Park Inn Hotel in downtown Mason City is soon to be under new management. 

Indigo Road Hospitality Group (IRHG) will take over operations of the Historic Park Inn starting Jan. 1, according to a press release issued on Tuesday. 

"This is the most exciting thing that we have done since the renovation of the Skyline Lodge that was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright’s student, Arthur Kelsey, which we reopened this past summer in the small town of Highlands, NC," Larry Spelts, President of Lodging & Lifestyle Adventures at Indigo Road Hospitality Group, said. "We can’t wait to make the good folks of Mason City very proud of their hotel."

IRHG will be taking over operations from HPI Partners LLC, which had previously operated the historic hotel. Wright on the Park, Inc. a non-profit organization formed in 2005, owns The Historic Park Inn Hotel. 

At the end of December, the contract signed with HPI will come to an end. Tara Schlichting, Board President of Wright on the Park, said that HPI didn’t want to renew that contract, wishing to move in a different direction, meaning a new management group was needed beginning in January.

IRHG will assume control of all hotel operations, as well as the restaurant and bar located onsite. 

"We see The Historic Park Inn as a restaurant, tavern, and banquet facility with rooms, not simply as a hotel with F&B offerings," Spelts said. "We are excited to focus on expanding the restaurant and bar at the property as the leading value proposition for guests, second only to the architecture of Wright."

Schlichting said that IRHG has already offered positions to all current employees of the Historic Park Inn Hotel, so any who wish to remain on staff will have the opportunity to do so.

IRHG intends to re-open the restaurant and lounge spaces, according to Schlichting, but there are no concrete plans on what the former 1910 Grille will become. However, Schlichting expects a new restaurant to open in the space sometime in the spring of 2022, and the lounge to potentially open even sooner.

“The new management group has a strong background in food and beverage,” Schlichting said. “We’re really excited about that.”

The 1910 Grille, came into some controversy last June, when several staff members quit within a short period of time, citing they were overworked and underpaid. The restaurant closed its doors shortly thereafter.

The 1910 Grille owner, Steve Noto, asserted that he closed the restaurant due to staffing issues caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The Historic Park Inn Hotel, which was designed by famous architect Frank Lloyd Wright as a bank, law office and hotel, originally opened in 1909. Wright on the Park spent $20 million to restore the building back to a functioning hotel and events center in 2011. 

Details about IRHG’s plans for the hotel are still up in the air, as the contract was only signed last week, but Schlichting said a few minor changes are on the way, with the kitchen floor set to be replaced and a few changes potentially coming to the lounge area.

“We’re looking forward to seeing their (IRHG) ideas and what we can implement together moving forward,” Schlichting said. “The new management group is strong and we’re excited to see what their concepts are going to be.”

"We love the look and feel of this style of property, and it is an honor to be part of something so important and iconic to American culture," Spelts said. 

IRHG is a group based out of Charleston, South Carolina, operating over 30 properties across the United States. 

Zachary Dupont covers politics and business development for the Globe Gazette. You can reach him at 641-421-0533 or zachary.dupont@globegazette.com. Follow Zachary on Twitter at @ZachNDupont

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