Elgin backs off reports it’s for sale
Historic Elgin Hotel’s co-owner is backing off published reports that she is looking to sell the hotel.
Tammy Ensey told the Wichita Eagle last week that she was looking for someone to lease or buy the hotel or lease its restaurant.
However, on Monday she told the Record and local merchants that she is mainly looking for an investor.
Stay-home orders caused the hotel to lose reservations and stop in-person dining.
“During the time, we were without any business. We literally had no business,” she said. “We lost thousands and thousands of dollars. It just caused us to look at what we might do.”
Ensey contacted real estate brokers.
“We were looking for someone to lease the restaurant,” Ensey said, adding that the broker “brought a business broker into the discussion.”
Options to improve the hotel’s financial stability were discussed.
“We’re really looking for an investor who might to partner with us to sink money in the business in exchange for equity in the business,” she said. “When you put it on the market, you’ve got to put all of it on the market.”
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Ensey hopes to be able to operate without as much debt.
“We haven’t even signed any papers at this point,” Ensey said.
When Ensey and her husband, Jeremy, bought the hotel in 2016, the city of Marion helped finance the purchase by issuing $800,000 in industrial revenue bonds.
After the virus outbreak, the Elgin also got a $10,000 bridge loan from the state Hospitality Industry Relief Emergency Fund, and an economic injury disaster loan from the Small Business Administration, and a forgivable loan through the federal paycheck protection program.
Ensey was one of 18 applicants for a grant the city hoped to win, but the city learned shortly before Ensey’s interview with the Eagle that it would not receive the grant.
The Elgin’s restaurant served private dinners over weekend and will reopen later this month with Jim Caulk as chef. Caulk moved here from Wichita and originally is from Florida.
“We’re just going to put it out there,” Ensey said. “We don’t want the Elgin to sell. We just want it to be smart financially.”